The Rajasthan High Court has transferred judge Dev Kumar Khatri of the Jodhpur magistrate court who had pronounced the judgement in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case convicting actor Salman Khan, NDTV reported. Khan had been sentenced to five years in jail on Thursday. However, the co-accused in the case – actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre – were acquitted.
Moreover, Jodhpur Sessions Judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi, who was scheduled to hear Khan’s bail plea on Saturday, was among 87 sessions court judges who were transferred on Friday, reports said. Joshi had deferred the hearing of the actor’s bail plea by a day as he wanted to check the complete case records before passing a verdict.
Joshi will be hearing Khan’s bail plea on Saturday, ANI reported. He will get seven days at his current posting and is allowed to handle the pending judicial work during this period, according to The Hindu.
Khatri and Joshi are among 382 judicial officers who have been transferred in a major reshuffle. Joshi has been replaced with Judge Chandra Kumar Songara of the district and sessions court in Bhilwara. Samrendra Singh Sikarwar, the additional chief judicial magistrate in Udaipur, will replace Khatri, reports said.
According to NDTV, judges in Rajasthan are usually transferred between April 15 and April 30 every year based on the recommendation of a committee set up by the High Court.
On Thursday, the sessions court had convicted Khan of hunting the endangered blackbuck in Rajasthan’s Kankani village while shooting the film Hum Saath Saath Hain in 1998. This is the last of three poaching cases and an Arms Act case against Khan from the 1998 incidents.
The actor has been lodged in jail since Thursday. He has spent time in a Jodhpur jail twice in connection with the case.