Bollywood star Salman Khan cannot catch a break, it seems. Almost always the first one to be embroiled in any kind of controversy, Salman faced the court’s verdict on April 5 in the blackbuck poaching case. While Salman Khan was convicted in the long-pending case, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bedre, Tabu and Neelam were acquitted.
Salman Khan had reportedly hunted the blackbucks down in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. According to reports, Salman had hunted another Chinkara just a couple of days after he had targeted his first two. On September 28, 1998, the actor had allegedly tracked down another one of the lot at Ghoda farms. However, a complaint was soon filed against the star and his contemporaries on October 2, 1998, by the people of Bishnoi. And only ten days later, Salman was arrested with regard to the case. However, the actor was granted a bail five days later.
Blackbuck is an endangered species that is protected under the Wildlife Act, and the punishment for killing the animal is imprisonment upto six years.
Also read: Salman Khan blackbuck verdict LIVE Updates
Years later, in 2006, Salman was convicted in the case and was asked to serve a sentence of five years and pay a fine of Rs 25,000. On August 24, 2007, the actor’s appeal was dismissed by the court. But luck was on the actor’s side as the charges against Salman were dropped after he spent only six days in the Jodhpur Central Jail. The actor had also been charged with the Arms Act, but he was cleared of that as well by the Rajasthan High Court.
In the midst of the ongoing case, Salman had spoken to NDTV in 2009 revealing his side of the story. He claimed that he and his co-stars rather ‘fed the deer’ when they came across a group on a day they had an early pack-up during the shooting of Hum Saath Saath Hain. “We saw a deer stuck in a bush. The whole herd was there. It was a fawn and was petrified. I took him out of there. We then gave him some water. The deer ate some biscuits and later went back in the forest,” Salman said in the same interview. According to him, this was the incident that gave way to the entire controversy which was later blown out of proportion.
Three years on, in December 2012, the charges against Salman Khan were revised and he was found guilty under Section 9/15 of the Wildlife Protection Act. On July 9, 2014, a notice was sent to the actor by the Supreme Court on behalf of the Rajasthan government, challenging the Rajasthan High Court’s verdict.
The case has obviously undergone its share of ups and downs. Things took a turn when on July 25, 2016, the actor was once again cleared of the charges by the Rajasthan High Court for lack of evidence. And history repeated itself when the government of Rajasthan once again appealed to the Supreme Court, challenging the clearance of Salman.
On November 11, 2016, Supreme Court fast-tracked the case after hearing Rajasthan government’s plea. However, Salman Khan’s producers will obviously want the actor to come out of the mess unscathed. The film star has signed a number of projects, including Race 3, Dabangg 3 and Ali Abbas Zafar’s Bharat. A lot rides on April 5.