Jodhpur District Court: Blackbuck Poaching Case Verdict; Actor Salman Khan Convicted; others acquitted

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For the uninitiated, the blackbuck, also known as the Indian antelope, is an antelope found in India, Nepal and Pakistan. The species was given its binomial name by Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus in 1758. The blackbuck is an endangered species and is protected under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Act. Salman and other actors including Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam are accused of killing two blackbucks in Bhagoda ki Dhani in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the intervening night of October 1-2, 1998, during the shooting of the popular Hindi film Hum Saath Saath Hain. All of them were in a Gypsy car that night, with Salman Khan in the driving seat. He, on spotting a herd of black bucks, shot at and killed two of them (https://www.news18.com/news/movies/blackbuck-poaching-case-live-salman-khan-convicted-quantum-out-shortly-bishnois-object-to-other-acquittals-1708135.html)

Salman and his co-stars allegedly went on a hunting session in Bhagoda ki Dhani in Kankani village and killed two blackbucks. Poonamchand Bishnoi, a local from the Bishnoi community that protects blackbucks for religious reasons, claims that he had gone out to answer the nature’s call when he heard gunshots. He claims he saw the headlights of a jeep and noticed Salman and Saif in the front seats and Tabu, Neelam and Bendre in the back seats. Bishnoi claims that he heard Salman’s co-actors telling him to shoot at a herd of blackbucks which Salman did. He killed two blackbucks, the witness alleges. All allegedly fled the spot when spotted by Bishnoi, leaving behind the carcasses of the blackbucks. Bishnoi claims he noted down the number of the jeep and informed the forest department. The forest department recovered the carcasses of black bucks. A forensic report said that the blood samples obtained from Salman’s car matched with those of black bucks. (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/the-night-at-kankani-village-20-years-ago-that-still-haunts-salman-khan/articleshow/63623774.cms)

 Subsequent stages of proceedings

  • In October 1998 Salman Khan Salman Khan was arrested for the offence and later on granted bail
  • In the year 2006 Salman Khan was convicted in the hunting case by one of the trial courts under the Wildlife Protection Act. The actor is fined Rs 25,000, and, also sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment.
  • In the year 2007 Salman Khan was sentenced to five years in prison but eventually, it was suspended on his appeal.
  • In the year 2012, the High Court of Rajasthan finalized charges against all accused.
  • In the year 2016 Salman Khan was acquitted by the High court but an appeal was filed by the Government against the acquittal by the High Court to the Supreme Court and as a consequence, the Supreme Court agreed to expedite the hearing in the two cases of blackbuck and chinkara poaching against Khan.
  • In the year 2018 Salman Khan is convicted. The other accused are acquitted.

Sentencing

Salaman khan has been sentenced to five years and fined Rs 10,000

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