After a delay of two days, Bollywood actor Salman Khan was granted the bail in a 1998 blackbuck poaching case by the Jodhpur sessions court on Saturday. The actor will return to finish his films on priority while pending appeal to a higher court.
Jodhpur District and Sessions Court Judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi, who heard the bail plea on Friday postponed it to Saturday and was transferred the same day so new judge heard it today. The actor’s lawyer Mahesh Bora’s arguments listing 54 reasons for the bail in a 51-page bail application, raising a benefit of doubt as only Salman had been convicted out of six accused.
Apart from Salman Khan, other Bollywood stars Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam were part of the hunting team on October 1-2 night in 1998 outside a reserve forest near Kankani village in Jodhpur. They were all shooting for “Hum Saath Saath Hain” film.
Salman was found guilty and convicted Salman under Section 9/51 of the Wildlife Protection Act as local Bishnoi community pressed for severe punishment to the actor for killing the blackbuck whcy they worship.
Salman had spent two days in the Jodhpur Central Jail as “Qaidi No. 106”.
In a country of 1.2 billion people, only 35 convicts have been jailed for wildlife crimes under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, usually most of them for poaching tigers and smuggling body parts, seahorse, snakes and other animals in India.
Blackbuck, known as Krishna mrig or Krishna saar and has been revered by local Bishnoi community and has been depicted in Maha Bhagavatam as pulling the chariot of Lord Krishna.