In a huge relief for Bollywood actor Salman Khan, the Rajasthan high court on Monday acquitted him in the Jodhpur blackbuck+ and chinkara poaching cases. Khan was accused of killing a blackbuck and a chinkara in two separate incidents in 1998.
The actor had appealed to the Rajasthan high court challenging a lower court’s verdict that convicted him and sentenced him to one and five years in jail for the two cases of poaching. The high court completed hearing the cases in the last week of May but reserved its decision at the time.
Two separate cases had been registered against Khan under section 51 of Wildlife Protection Act for poaching of two chinkaras in village Bhawad on 26-27 September, 1998 and one chinkara in Mathania (Ghoda Farm) on 28-29 September, 1998.
The trial court (CJM) had convicted him in both the cases sentencing him to one year and 5 year imprisonment on February 17, 2006 and April 10, 2006 respectively. The convictions were challenged by Khan in the sessions court, which dismissed appeal in Mathania’s case and transferred appeal to high court in Bhawad’s case, where already two appeals by the state government had been pending.
Hearing on both these petition in high court had begun on November 16, 2015 and were completed on May 13, 2016, after which justice Nirmal Jit Kaur had reserved her judgement. While arguing the case in the high court, defence counsel Mahesh Bora had contended that Khan had been falsely framed in these cases, merely on the statements of a key witness Harish Dulani, the driver of the vehicle, which was allegedly used in poaching in both these cases.
Besides this, the major observation by the court was that it did not find the pellets recovered from the vehicle matching with those, recovered from the possession of Khan. At that time of the alleged incidents, Khan was shooting for the film “Hum Sath Sath Hain” in Jodhpur.
SOURCE: TIMES OF INDIA