Salman Khan sentenced to 5 years in jail; other accused let off

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Bollywood King Khan Salman Khan on Thursday sentenced to five years jail term after Dabangg actor was convicted of killing two blackbucks in Rajasthan 1998. Khan has been asked to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 in the 19-year-old case. However, Khan’s co-stars Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam who were also accused have been acquitted. There are two other accused in the case — travel agent Dushyant Singh and Dinesh Gawre, Salman’s assistant at the time. Gawre is still absconding. The actors are accused of hunting down two blackbucks in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the intervening night of October 1 and 2, 1998. The actors were in the city for the shooting of the film ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’.

The 52 years old actor Salman is facing charges under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and the other actors have been charged under Section 51 read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code. The maximum punishment under Section 51 is six years.

Salman Khan’s lawyer, Anand Desai, said in a statement, “We respect the decision of the Hon’ble Court. While we are studying the judgement it just came as a surprise, as the entire investigation, and facts of this case were the same as those for which Salman has been acquitted by the Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan in two cases, and even by the Hon’ble CJM in the Arms Act matter for the alleged offence on the very same night as is the subject matter of the present case. Also, in the present case, the Hon’ble Court has acquitted all the 5 co-accused which would imply that Salman was out hunting alone in the middle of the night in a remote area outside Jodhpur.

A hearing on the bail plea of Khan will likely take place at 10.30 am on Friday.

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