1998 Blackbuck case verdict: Salman Khan convicted, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre acquitted
The prime accused in the 1998 Blackbuck poaching case, Salman Khan has been convicted. His defence has argued for two years in prison. All the others involved in the case namely Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre and Tabu are acquitted. Salman Khan faced charges under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act. The other actors had been charged under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code.
During the filming of Hum Saath Saath Hain, the group had gone on a hunting expedition. They had allegedly poached on two blackbucks near the Kankani village in Jodhpur. This species is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act.
Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri announced the verdict in the case which has been on for almost 20 years. The legal tussle involved the Bishnoi community and the actors. The Bishnois are committed to protecting the species.
The maximum punishment for the crime under Section 51 is a period of six years. The last hearing of the case was held on January 2017 when Salman walked free. The final arguments of the case were completed on March 28. Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri had reserved the judgment for April 5.
Salman had recently arrived in the country after completing his shooting schedule for Race 3 in Abu Dhabi. There is still another schedule of the film that needs to be shot.