The blackbuck poaching case dates back to the night of October 2, 1998, when Salman Khan allegedly shot and killed two blackbucks in Mathania village of Jodhpur. A Jodhpur court in Rajasthan pronounced judgment on 5 April 2018, in the 20-year-old blackbuck poaching case. Salman Khan has been found guilty and sentenced to five years jail term.
The blackbuck, an endangered species, is protected under Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Act and the punishment for hunting blackbuck can be up to six years. Salman Khan has also been accused of killing two chinkaras and a blackbuck in September 1998. In all, three cases of poaching and one under the Arms Act were registered against Salman Khan in 1998. The actor has been on trial for charges of poaching under the Wildlife Protection Act and the Indian Penal Code. While Salman is facing charges under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, other actors have been charged under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code.
In 2006, the Rajasthan High Court acquitted Salman Khan of all charges in the blackbuck poaching case. The High Court said that there was no evidence to prove that the animals which were found dead were shot by the actor’s licensed gun. The entire investigation, and facts of this case were the same as those for which Salman has been found guilty this time round 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.
Accompanying him that fateful day were actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam who have been accused of inciting him to poach the animals. They were acquitted in the case. So what does the acquittal imply? Salman was out hunting alone in the middle of the night in a remote area outside Jodhpur, which was not the case. Later on that year, Salman Khan was issued notice by the Supreme Court on an appeal by the Rajasthan government challenging his acquittal in blackbuck poaching case. The top court agrees to fast-track the plea. And here we are today.
Photo dated October 1998
The actor will be housed in barrack number 1 in Jodhpur Central Jail, say local media reports. Bishnoi community supporters celebrate outside the Jodhpur court as Salman Khan has been sentenced to 5 years in jail in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case. Meanwhile, Salman’s legal team is ready with the paperwork for an appeal in High Court. The Hon’ble Sessions Court will hear the appeal for suspension of the sentence / bail at 1030 06 April 2018.