Jodhpur: A Jodhpur court in Rajasthan on Thursday jailed Bollywood superstar Salman Khan for five years blackbuck poaching case. Prosecution lawyer Mahipal Bishnoi told reporters outside the court in Jodhpur: “The court has given a five-year jail term and fined Salman Khan rs10,000 ($150)."
The lawyer said an arrest warrant was being prepared for the 52-year-old actor who would be sent to Jodhpur central jail. Khan, who pleaded not guilty, can still appeal.
Khan and fellow actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam Kothari and Sonali Bendre were charged in the killing of endangered blackbuck antelopes in 1998 while shooting for the film “Hum Saath-Saath Hain" in Rajasthan. All other accused have been acquitted.
“The court has pronounced Salman Khan guilty. Saif Ali Khan, Neelam, Tabu and Sonali Bendre have been given the benefit of the doubt and let off. Arguments for the quantum of sentence are on," a lawyer from Khan’s team told reporters outside court.
A fifth person, Dushyant Singh, a local from the area, has also been acquitted, said Mahipal Bishnoi, the prosecution counsel.
The conviction could lead to a prison sentence of up to six years, TV channels said.
Khan is arguably India’s biggest star, and most of his films figure in Bollywood’s top box office earners. His last release in December, “Tiger Zinda Hai", grossed more than Rs300 crore ($52 million). His next film is an action thriller and scheduled to release during the Eid holiday weekend in August.
This is not Khan’s first brush with the law. In 2015, the Bombay high court overturned his conviction in a hit-and-run case in which he was accused of running over a homeless man. Last year, another court in Jodhpur acquitted Khan in a separate poaching case, ruling that there was no proof that he killed an endangered gazelle.
The other convicts are also big-ticket Bollywood stars. Saif Ali Khan is one of Bollywood’s leading men and is also part of Netflix’s first Indian series, “Sacred Games". Tabu has been a part of several Bollywood and Hollywood films such as “Life of Pi" and “The Namesake". Reuters