Salman Khan goes to jail with five-year sentence

Bollywood’s second biggest star Salman Khan has been handed a prison term of five years by the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate of Jodhpur in the black buck killing case after a 20-year trial.

The sentence implies that Salman Khan is most likely to spend at least one day in jail, before he applies for and gets bail from a higher court.

However, Salman Khan has already kept two people ready at the district courts to apply for bail. It remains to be seen if he gets bail and comes out today itself or whether he gets to spend some time under government hospitality for a few days or weeks.

He has been sent to the Jodhpur Central Jail. He will be kept in barrack no.2, where Asaram Bapu is also cooling his heels.

Khan has earlier spent several days in the same jail in related cases.

The CJM court had earlier let off four of his co-stars —  Neelam, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre and Tabu — in the same case giving them the ‘benefit of doubt’.

People in the desert state of Rajasthan tend to take the issue of conservation of nature seriously.

Black bucks are wild animals, but can be found roaming freely in many places. People do not touch the animal.

The case against Salman Khan and others were pursued earnestly by organizations related to the local Bishnoi community.

The prosecution had argued that all five, along with a local person, had set out to hunt wild animals and ended up killing a black buck, a protected animal.

While it was Khan who had pulled the trigger, said the court, all five were involved in the hunt, as well as their local guide Dushyant Singh.

The team was shooting for the film “Hum Saath Saath Hain” at the time.

The case, heard by CJM Dev Khatri, carried a maximum of six years and a minimum of three years imprisonment.

The defense pleaded for leniency, arguing that Khan is now a philanthropist and supports many children and poor people through his charitable ventures.

It was, the team argued, imperative that Khan return to society to continue the good work.

The conviction could impact the release of ‘RACE 3’, slotted for Eid this year.

Khan has faced several criminal cases, including one of hit and run and one under the Arms Act. However, he has successfully evaded conviction in all of them.

However, unlike those cases, in this one, there were almost no witnessed who turned hostile or who refused to stand by their earlier testimony.

Beside the cases of poaching of endangered antelopes under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, a case under sections 3/25 and 3/27 of the Arms Act was filed against Khan for allegedly keeping and using firearms with an expired licence in the poaching of blackbucks in Kankani near Jodhpur on October 1–2, 1998.

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On 17 February 2006, Khan was sentenced to one year in prison for hunting the Chinkara, an endangered species. The sentence was stayed by a higher court during appeal.

On 10 April 2006, he was handed a five-year jail term and remanded to Jodhpur jail until 13 April when he was granted bail. On 24 July 2012, Rajasthan High Court finalized charges against Salman Khan and his other colleagues in the endangered blackbuck killing case, paving way for the start of the trial.