A Jodhpur court in Rajasthan pronounced judgment in the 20-year-old blackbuck poaching case in which actors Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam were arrested in 1998. While Salman Khan has been found guilty and sentenced to five years in jail, the other actors were acquitted in the case. The blackbuck poaching case dates back to the night of October 2, 1998, when Salman Khan allegedly shot and killed two blackbucks in Mathania village of Jodhpur. Accompanying him were actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam who have been accused of inciting him to poach the animals. The actor has been charged of poaching under the Wildlife Protection Act.
While delivering the verdict on Thursday in the blackbuck poaching case, the judge said, "The way the accused killed two innocent black bucks in violation of the wildlife laws...he is a film star, people emulate him... there has been a rise in poaching incidents, so leniency is not justified."
The blackbuck, an endangered species, is protected under Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Act and the punishment for hunting blackbuck can be up to six years. Salman Khan has also been accused of killing two chinkaras and a blackbuck in September 1998. In all, three cases of poaching and one under the Arms Act were registered against Salman Khan in 1998.
November 11: Salman Khan was issued notice by the Supreme Court on an appeal by the Rajasthan government challenging his acquittal in blackbuck poaching case. The top court agrees to fast-track the plea.
April 5: A Jodhpur Court delivered verdict in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case against actor Salman Khan. While Salman Khan has been found guilty and sentenced to five years in jail. Actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam have been let off.