Jodhpur: Bollywood actor Salman Khan was on Wednesday acquitted by a court in Jodhpur in an Arms Act case related to the alleged poaching of two blackbucks 18 years ago.
Chief judicial magistrate Dalpat Singh Rajpuroti acquitted the 51-year-old actor, who along with his sister Alvira was present in the court. Besides the cases of poaching of endangered antelopes under Wildlife (Protection) Act, a case under sections 3/25 and 3/27 of the Arms Act was filed against Khan for allegedly keeping and using the fire arms with expired licence in the alleged poaching of blackbucks in Kankani near Jodhpur on 1-2 October 1998.
Taking to Twitter, the actor expressed his gratitude to fans for showing their support throughout the trial. “Thank you for all the support and good wishes,” the actor wrote.
Arguments by both the sides in this case were completed on 9 January. The actor’s counsel H M Saraswat had earlier said, “We had argued in the court that there was no evidence that Khan was carrying fire arms either during his stay here or during alleged poaching. What he was found in possession with, were actually air guns.”
The defence had also raised questions on the prosecution permission arguing that it was given by the then district magistrate Rajat Kumar Mishra and was not lawful. Prosecution counsel B.S. Bhati, replying to the arguments, had said that the prosecution permission was based on the facts and evidences furnished by the police in its investigation.
The case had reached the stage of judgement earlier on 25 February 2014 but sudden appearance of an undecided prosecution application before the trial court, moved by the then prosecution counsel in 2006 put off the verdict for two years.
Khan had earlier appeared in court on 10 March last year for recording of his statements before the court, wherein he had pleaded innocence and had stated that he had been framed in the case by the forest department. The case under the Arms Act is one of the four cases against the actor. While the Rajasthan high court has acquitted him in two cases of poaching of chinkara, trial in the third case of alleged poaching of two blackbucks is on.
Elaborate security arrangements were made in the court premises in view of Khan’s appearance with nearly 150 policemen deployed. A large number of the actor’s fans were also present near the court premises.