Actor Salman Khan on Friday told a Jodhpur court that he had not killed any blackbucks in 1998, and that he was innocent of all charges against him in the case. Apart from Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre also appeared before the court to record their statements in the poaching case.
Salman Khan claimed there was truth to only the first part of a forensic report that said the endangered animal he allegedly shot had died of natural causes. Chief Judicial Magistrate DS Rajpurohit asked the actor around 60 questions during the hearing, The Times of India reported. The questions – a summary of the prosecution’s case and the evidence presented in court – included queries on blackbuck blood stains found on a jeep he used and whether he had gone out to hunt the night the animal was killed.
The court also completed recording Saif Ali Khan’s statement in the matter. The case involves an incident in 1998, when the actors are believed to have hunted the endangered animal while shooting for their film Hum Saath Saath Hain in Rajasthan. On January 18, the Jodhpur court had acquitted Salman Khan in the Arms Act case filed against him the same year in connection with poaching blackbucks and chinkaras in Rajasthan.
Besides Salman Khan, seven others were listed as accused in the case that involved the killing of blackbucks and chinkaras in Jodhpur and Ghoda farms. The actor has spent time in a Jodhpur jail twice in connection with the case. Both animals fall under the endangered species category, and killing them is a punishable offence in the country.