Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has been acquitted by the Rajasthan High Court from the case of killing blackbucks and chinkaras dated back to 1998. Salman Khan, has been accused of shooting protected antelopes or chinkara while filming a movie in the desert state.
The High Court today said there was no evidence to prove that the animals who were found dead were shot by Mr Khan’s licensed gun. The court held the case was based on weak circumstantial evidence and the prime witness — the driver of Khan and his co-stars’ jeep for the alleged hunt — was missing, weakening the prosecution’s case against the movie star, who was not required to attend today’s court session.
In February 2006, Salman Khan was convicted under the Wild Life Act for poaching a Chinkara at Bhawad near Jodhpur during the shooting of film Hum Saath Saath Hain in September 1998. Salman Khan was sentenced to one-year imprisonment and was slapped a fine of Rs 5,000. He then spent a week in jail in Jodhpur before being granted bail. Besides Salman Khan, actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam were also charged in the poaching case. In 2007, Salman was sentenced to five years in prison by the Rajasthan High Court for hunting a blackbuck during the shooting of Hum Saath Saath Hain. Khan appealed in both cases, and the hearing on both these petitions had begun in the high court on 16 November last year and was completed on 13 May this year.