A Jodhpur court on Thursday convicted actor Salman Khan in the two-decade-old blackbuck poaching case, ANI reported. The court, however, acquitted actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu in the case.
Salman Khan is accused of hunting the endangered blackbuck in Kankani village near Jodhpur during the shooting of Hum Saath Saath Hain. His co-actors were named in the case as they were in the vehicle Salman Khan allegedly used while hunting the animal.
Both blackbucks and chinkaras fall under the endangered species category, and killing them is a punishable offence in India.
This is the last of three poaching cases and an Arms Act case against Salman Khan from the incidents of 1998. The actor has spent time in a Jodhpur jail twice in connection with the case.
The prosecution had relied on the statements of the Bishnoi community, which lives in the area and protects the blackbuck. The villagers had said that they came out of their homes after they heard gunshots and even chased the Gypsy vehicle that Salman Khan was driving. The villagers were the key witnesses in the case.
“We want an immediate appeal to be filed against those who have been acquitted and we also demand maximum punishment for Salman Khan,” Rampal Bhawad, state president of Bishnoi Tigers Vanya Evam Paryavaran Sanstha, told ANI.