Nine years after four applications were moved to introduce new witnesses, evidence and documents in the Arms Act case against Bollywood actor Salman Khan related to the 1998 black buck poaching incident, the prosecution on the day of verdict again brought up the appeal before a Jodhpur court. The hearing was adjourned till March 3 when the court will decide whether to admit the plea.
The prosecution’s move to bring up the August 30, 2006, applications on Wednesday come as a surprise and if admitted this could give Khan a breather for several years. Speaking to reporters in Jodhpur, Khan’s lawyer Hastimal Saraswat said the state had produced 16 witnesses in 16 years, and if the application was admitted, the case would drag on for another 24 years.
Khan was not present in court for the hearing on Wednesday and had sought an exemption. Khan is accused of poaching three chinkaras and a black buck near Jodhpur in 1998 during the shooting of a film, Hum Saath Saath Hain. The forest department had then registered a case under the Arms Act with the local police alleging that the licenses of the weapons used by him had expired.
Khan has argued in court that he had applied for a renewal of licence for the weapons soon after it expired and hence was not using them illegally. The local court in Jodhpur could sentence Khan to between three to seven years in jail if found guilty.
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