The district and sessions court in Jodhpur on Saturday granted bail to actor Salman Khan who was lodged in Jodhpur Central Jail after being sentenced to five years of imprisonment in the blackbuck poaching case Thursday. The actor has been granted bail on the condition that he will have to produce two sureties worth Rs 25,000 and a bail bond of Rs 50,000.
“It’s a baseless argument by the prosecution that the previous acquittals of Khan by the Rajasthan High Court cannot be termed as final because the government’s appeal is pending in Supreme Court. If the High Court’s decision of acquittal is not final, then the five-year sentence by the trial court is also not final as it’s the lowest court and we will be appealing against the decision,” Salman’s counsel Mahesh Bora had argued in the court on Saturday.
Bora had also cited a forensic science laboratory (FSL) report that said that no gunshot wound can be ascertained from the bones of the blackbucks sent to the forensic lab. “There’s no question of misuse of liberty by Khan if he is granted bail as in the past 20 years, he has not jumped a single hearing despite having a busy schedule,” Bora had said. Follow Salman Khan blackbuck poaching case LIVE UPDATES
The prosecution on its part told district and sessions judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi that the current case is the strongest of all the cases filed against the actor.
“This case shouldn’t be seen in the same way with the ones in which Khan has been acquitted by the High Court. The second postmortem report clearly states the animal died of gunshot wounds and the fact that the eyewitness stuck to his statements throughout the trial shows that our case is strong,” said public prosecutor Pokhar Ram Bishnoi.
Even though judge Joshi was transferred along with several other judicial officers Friday night, he heard Salman’s case Saturday morning.
On Thursday, the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (Jodhpur Rural) Dev Kumar Khatri sentenced Salman to five years in jail and fined him Rs 10,000 for killing two blackbucks in Kankani village, near Jodhpur, on October 1998.
According to the prosecution, on the night of October 1, 1998, Salman was in a Gypsy when he spotted a herd of blackbucks — an endangered animal and included in Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 — in Kankani village and killed two of them.