New Delhi: Actor Salman Khan did shoot endangered gazelle or chinkara, said Harish Dulani, a driver and key witness in the case against the actor, speaking exclusively to NDTV today.
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Mr Dulani, who has been reported missing in the 18-year-old case, said he has been living in fear and was threatened every time he tried to attend a court hearing.
On Monday, the 50-year-old star was acquitted by the Rajasthan High Court in two cases for lack of evidence.
Mr Dulani, who drove the Gypsy used by Mr Khan for a week and was with him during an alleged hunt in 1998 on the sidelines of a movie shoot, had told a magistrate that the actor was driving and shooting deer at the same time. But he never once testified during the trial.
His statement was discredited as implausible by the court, which also found that he was never available for cross-examination.
"I stick to the statement I made before a magistrate 18 years ago," Mr Dulani said today, adding, "I am not an absconder. My father received threats, I got scared and left home. If I had police protection, I could have given a statement. That was what I always intended."
Mr Dulani said he is ready to go to the court and testify in a third case that is yet to be decided - the alleged poaching of endangered blackbuck - but is scared.
"I want to appeal to NDTV that my life is in danger. I am ready to go to court but I want protection," he said. He is not the main witness in that case.
While dropping charges against Mr Khan on Monday, the court overturned earlier verdicts that sentenced him to jail and said there was no evidence to prove that the deer found dead were shot with Mr Khan's licensed gun.
In 2007, Mr Khan, one of the most bankable stars in Bollywood, spent a week in jail in Jodhpur before being granted bail.
Mr Dulani was sacked by the owner of the Gypsy. He says over the years, he has shifted home multiple times and could never hold down a job for fear of being recognized and targeted.