Salman Khan, Other Actors In Jodhpur For Tomorrow's Verdict In Blackbuck Poaching Case

Final arguments if the black bucks case were completed in the trial court on March 28.

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Salman Khan, Other Actors In Jodhpur For Tomorrow's Verdict In Blackbuck Poaching Case

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Salman Khan, 52, is accused of killing two black bucks near Jodhpur in October 1998

Jodhpur:  Actor Salman Khan arrived in Jodhpur today for the judgment in the final poaching case against him, which involves the killing of two blackbucks. The verdict will be announced tomorrow by a court.

Actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam, who are charged with being present with Salman Khan in the Gypsy that he allegedly used for the hunt, have also reached Jodhpur.

Final arguments of the case were completed in the trial court on March 28, after which Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri had reserved the judgment for tomorrow.

Salman Khan, 52, is accused of killing two blackbucks in Bhagoda ki Dhani in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the intervening night of 1-2 October, 1998, during the shooting of Hum Saath Saath Hain.

Salman Khan has said he has been "falsely implicated" and alleged the witnesses were "concocted" by the forest department for publicity.

The alleged poaching took place near an area inhabited by the Bishnois, a traditional community that protects the deer and remains vigilant against poachers in the area.

The villagers, who came out after hearing the gunshots, allege that they chased the Gypsy that Salman Khan was driving, and that the actor fled the scene, leaving the blackbucks behind. The Bishnois were key witnesses in this case against Salman Khan.

On April 10, 2006, Mr Khan was convicted in the case and was sentenced to five years in jail. He spent a week in jail before he was granted bail.

He is facing charges under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and the other actors have been charged under Section 51 read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code. Maximum punishment for killing black bucks is six years.

"All of them were in a Gypsy car that night, with Salman Khan in the driving seat. He, on spotting a herd of black bucks, shot at and killed two of them. But on being spotted and chased, they fled from the spot leaving the dead animals there," Public Prosecutor Bhawani Singh Bhati had said adding there was adequate evidence against the actors.

Salman Khan's counsel Hastimal Saraswat denied the allegations and claimed there were several loopholes in the prosecution's story and it had failed to prove its case. He also said there is no forensic evidence to prove the blackbucks were hunted by guns.

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The blackbuck is an endangered species and is protected under Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Act.

(With inputs from PTI)

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