Salman Khan gets 5-year jail term in blackbuck poaching case

As the sentence is above 3 years, Salman Khan will not be able to get immediate bail.
Salman Khan gets 5-year jail term in blackbuck poaching case
Salman Khan gets 5-year jail term in blackbuck poaching case
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Bollywood actor Salman Khan, who was convicted by a Jodhpur magistrate court in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case on Thursday, has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri, who had earlier acquitted the other four accused actors, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam, pronounced the quantum of punishment later in the day.

Calling Salman a ‘habitual offender’ Magistrate Khatri also slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on the 53-year-old actor.

This sentencing effectively deprives Salman of accessing immediate bail, which would have been an option had he been sentenced to imprisonment of three years or less.

Now, the only option he has is to appeal against the verdict in a higher court.

Salman and the other actors were accused of poaching blackbucks in Kankani village near Jodhpur on October 1-2, 1998, during the shooting of Bollywood film Hum Saath Saath Hain

The final arguments in the case were completed in a Jodhpur rural court on March 28. Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri had reserved the judgment for April 5 thereafter. 

Apart from the actors, travel agent Dushyant Singh and Dinesh Gawre were also accused in the case. The latter was Salman's assistant at the time and is said to be on the run. The trial against only the other six had been completed.

The accused were charged with hunting and killing two blackbucks, which are protected animals under the Wildlife Protection Act. The deer were allegedly poached near a village of Bishnois, a community which is known for revering and protecting the blackbuck.

The villagers had come out of their homes hearing the gunshots on that night in 1998, and allegedly saw the actors fleeing in a jeep, and the deer carcass on the ground.

Salman Khan was booked under section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act and the other actors also faced charges under the same section. However, read with section 149 of the IPC, they were also charged with unlawful assembly.

Salman Khan was also slapped with four cases of poaching and one charge under the Arms Act in Jodhpur in September-October 1998. His lawyers however, claimed that there was no forensic evidence to show that the deer were hunted with guns and died.

However, according to Public Prosecutor Bhawani Singh Bhati, "All of them were in a gypsy car that night, with Salman Khan in the driving seat. He, on spotting a herd of blackbucks, shot at and killed two of them. But on being spotted and chased, they fled from the spot leaving the dead animals there."

Meanwhile, a video clipping of Saif getting annoyed over media questions over the blackbuck case has gone viral. The actor arrived in Jodhpur for the verdict on Tuesday, and when the media questioned him, he said to his driver, “Sheehsa upar karo aur reverse kar lo varna padegi ek (close windowpane, put car in reverse or else you will get it)”.

A fan reportedly misbehaved with Tabu while she was coming out of the airport at Jodhpur on Wednesday morning. 

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