The Salman Khan Blackbuck poaching case might be approaching its end, with a Jodhpur court on Thursday sentencing the Bollywood actor to five years in jail in a 1998 case. The other four actors who were co-accused – Sonali Bendre, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, and Neelam – were acquitted of all charges. The hearing of Salman Khan's bail application in the poaching case will take place on Friday. Salman has been lodged in ward number 2 and given number 106 in the Jodhpur Central jail.
Salman, 52, was found guilty under Section 9/51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, for killing two blackbucks, an endangered species whose hunting is prohibited by law. The incident took place in Kankani village near Jodhpur on October 1-2, 1998, during the shooting of the Bollywood film Hum Saath Saath Hain.
At present, three big movie projects – Race 3, Bharat, and Dabangg 3 – as well as a comeback season of the reality TV show Dus Ka Dum are riding on Salman's shoulders.
After Thursday’s verdict, Khan is being taken to the Jodhpur Central Jail. If the jail sentence had been less than three years, the actor could have applied for bail in the same court. However, he would now have to approach the sessions court on Friday for bail.
The trial of the case had been in progress for 19 years. The judge in a Jodhpur court had on March 28 reserved his order after hearing the final arguments. The actor's case was represented by defence counsel Hastimal Saraswat. The judgment was pronounced by Chief Justice Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri at a hearing attended by Salman's sisters Alvira and Arpita.
Meanwhile, the Jeev Raksha Bishnoi Sabha on Thursday protested the court decision to acquit the other co-accused in the case. Their acquittal would be challenged in the high court, said Shivraj Bishnoi, state president of the organisation.Here are the top ten developments in the Salman Khan Blackbuck poaching case verdict:
1) Salman to sleep on the floor like other inmates: Salman Khan has been lodged in ward number 2 and given number 106 in the Jodhpur Central jail. As per the Jodhpur DIG (Jail) Vikram Singh, multiple layers of security have been put in place for the actor in the jail and he has been lodged in a separate barrack. "Salman Khan has been given number 106 and is lodged in ward number 2. He was made to undergo a medical test and has no medical issues. He has not made any demands. We will give him jail uniform tomorrow. Multiple-layer security has been put up for his ward," the DIG said on Thursday, hours after he was taken to jail following his conviction in the case.
The DIG said the actor was served with chana dal (split chickpeas), cabbage, and chapati (flat bread) for the meal. The 'Sultan' of Bollywood will have to sleep on the floor of the jail like other prisoners. But there is a little relief for the Dabangg star, as he will not have to share his washroom with anyone. "He has been lodged in a separate barrack, so there is an independent toilet. We are thinking to keep nearly two-three people with him keeping his security in mind. He is drinking normal water which was provided to him. He did not make any demand for mineral water," DIG Singh said.
Interestingly, Salman is sharing the ward with self-styled Godman Asaram Bapu, who is in the jail since 2013 for raping a 16-year-old girl. Salman will be able to meet his family and advocate in the morning to discuss his future course of action.2) Salman's fourth stint at Jodhpur Central Jail begins: Jail sources said Salman was lodged in barrack number 2 in a heavily protected and secure cell. He would have to spend at least one night in the jail until his bail hearing tomorrow. This is Salman's fourth stint in the Jodhpur Central Jail, which also houses religious preacher Asaram Bapu, who has been accused of rape. He had earlier spent a total of 18 days in the jail in 1998, 2006, and 2007, all for cases of poaching.
3) Salman Khan's lawyer says actor has preferred an appeal to sessions court: "Also, in the present case, the Hon'ble Court has acquitted all the five co-accused, which would imply that Salman was out hunting alone in the middle of the night in a remote area outside Jodhpur. We have preferred an appeal to the Hon'ble Sessions Court and applied for an urgent hearing today," he added. According to Desai, the sessions court will hear the appeal for suspension of the sentence/bail at 10.30 am on Friday.
'Facts of this case the same as earlier ones in which Salman was acquitted': "We respect the decision of the Hon'ble Court. While we are studying the judgment, it just came as a surprise, as the entire investigation, and facts of this case were the same as those in which Salman had been acquitted by the Hon'ble High Court of Rajasthan in two cases, and even the Hon'ble CJM in the Arms Act matter for the alleged offence on the very same night as is the subject matter of the present case," Desai, Salman's legal counsel, said in a statement.
Salman Khan's lawyer says court's verdict 'came as a surprise': After the Jodhpur court verdict, Salman Khan's lawyer said they would appeal to the sessions court to seek relief for the actor in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case. The 52-year-old Bollywood actor has been sent to the Jodhpur Central Jail for killing two blackbucks in October 1998. Anand Desai, Salman's legal counsel, said although they respected the court's verdict, the decision "came as a surprise" as the actor had been acquitted in earlier cases that had the same facts as in this one.
4) 'Salman targeted for his star status': The Hindi film industry erupted with outrage and concern as Salman Khan was on Thursday sentenced to five years in jail for killing endangered blackbucks way back in 1998. Many of Khan’s colleagues stressed that the successful actor had been punished because he was a star. Only a few of them said justice had been delivered.
Subhash Ghai is 'extremely shocked': As the 52-year-old actor's friends and colleagues reacted with shock over the jail term for the superstar in the 1998 poaching case, director Subhash Ghai said Khan was likely to appeal to a higher court. Ghai, who has worked with Khan in several films, tweetedL "I am extremely shocked." The director said he had "full trust in the Indian judiciary which had many other doors" for an "appeal for final justice".
Ghai sought to stress that Khan was a "nice" man. He was "most loved ... for his human reasons too", Ghai tweeted.
Die-hard fan says 'I am numb': Friends started tweeting and fans began to gather outside Khan's house in Galaxy Apartment, Bandra, soon after the verdict was announced. A police van had been stationed outside his house since the morning. "I don't know how to react. I am numb. I hope he stays strong. His fans will always love him," a young devotee, standing outside the actor's house, said.
I am extremely shocked to hear @BeingSalmanKhan being convicted by session court but also having full trust in indian judiciary which has many other doors to appeal for final justice whatsoever. Since He is most loved person by industry N people for his human reasons too.— Subhash Ghai (@SubhashGhai1) April 5, 2018
Khan was taken to the Jodhpur Central Jail after he was convicted in the 1998 case for gunning down two blackbucks in Rajasthan.
Himani Shivpuri says Salman a 'nice individual' but 'law has right to pass judgment': Actor Himani Shivpuri, who played Khan's aunt in Hum Sath Sath Hain, during the shooting of which film the killing of blackbucks took place, said Khan was a "nice individual" who was "near and dear" to her. The judiciary's verdict, however, had to be respected, she said, adding that the blackbuck was an endangered species, sacred to the Bishnoi tribe. "...I feel if you are killing or shooting an innocent animal (and) it is against the law, then the law has every right to pass a judgment. I am saddened as Salman is a nice individual, but if a nice individual commits a mistake, he should be able to bear the consequences," Shivpuri told PTI.Alok Nath says we have to respect court's judgment: Actor Alok Nath, Khan's on-screen father in the 1999 film Hum Sath Sath Hain, was more cautious in his reaction. "It is the honourable court's judgment, so we have to take it and respect it as they have studied the case for 20 years," he said.
Arjun Rampal says verdict 'too harsh': Actor Arjun Rampal tweeted to say the decision seemed a bit "too harsh". "The law takes its course. Can't argue (with) it. But at this point in time I just feel helpless and my heart goes out to @BeingSalmanKhan and his family. Reason, cause the last thing @BeingSalmanKhan is, is a criminal. I feel this is too harsh. I do hope he gets the relief he deserves," the actor said.
The law takes its course. Can’t argue it. But at this point in time I just feel helpless and my heart goes out to @BeingSalmanKhan and his family. Reason, cause the last thing @BeingSalmanKhan is, is a criminal.I feel this is too harsh. I do hope he gets the relief he deserves.— arjun rampal (@rampalarjun) April 5, 2018
Anil Sharma says verdict 'very disturbing': Filmmaker Anil Sharma, who directed Khan in Veer, said he hoped the actor would soon get bail. "It's very disturbing. Salman is my colleague, we have worked together. When something like this happens with your colleague, you are bound to feel sad. We were hopeful he won't be sentenced but now we hope he gets bail soon," he told PTI.
Dalip Tahil asks why the other co-accused were not convicted: Actor Dalip Tahil expressed concern that only Khan was convicted, while the others were all acquitted. "I am still trying to get my head around the decision. You target him... where is the justice in this? You completely acquit the rest of the people. If they were there... they were also part of the crime," Tahil told a TV channel.
Commenting on the blackbuck poaching case verdict, Samir Soni, actor and husband of actress Neelam, who was acquitted in the case, told news agencies: "We are happy for us but we are disappointed for Salman Khan." Soni said that "justice has not been given properly in this case". He added that he was "feeling bad" for Salman Khan.
Commenting on the Salman Khan Blackbuck poaching case, Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan said she felt bad about the outcome of the case and that the actor "should be given relief". Bachchan added, "He has done a lot of humanitarian work."
We are happy for us but we are disappointed for #SalmanKhan. Justice has not been given properly in this case. I am feeling bad for him: Samir Soni, actor and husband of actress Neelam #BlackbuckPoachingCase pic.twitter.com/V65Dm9rkGY— ANI (@ANI) April 5, 2018
5) Sona Mohapatra slams Salman's cronies in the industry: Singer-writer Sona Mohapatra, without taking names, was sharply critical of the actor and the fraternity. "So...will daddy say sorry on his behalf? What will the suck-ups in the industry do? When's bail? When's the next blockbuster release? Dabangg 'concert' tour dates? Bigg Boss? Charity drives," she tweeted.
6) Bishnoi community celebrates: Members of the Bishnoi community celebrated outside the Jodhpur Court today after the court pronounced five-year imprisonment for Salman Khan in the Blackbuck poaching case, news agency ANI reported.
Visuals emerged of Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, who has been sentenced to five years in jail in the Blackbuck poaching case, at the Jodhpur Central Jail.
7) Salman's bail application hearing tomorrow: The hearing of Salman Khan's bail application in the Blackbuck poaching case will take place on Friday in the Jodhpur sessions court, news agency ANI reported.
8) Salman sentenced to 5 years: Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was on Thursday sentenced to five years in prison after a Jodhpur court convicted him for killing two rare blackbucks, putting an end, at least for now, to a legal battle that ran for 20 years.9) Salman a 'habitual offender': Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri, while pronouncing the guilty verdict in the case of killing the protected antelopes, called Salman a "habitual offender" under the wildlife protection laws of the country.
10) Big loss for Bollywood industry if Salman Khan is jailed: Currently working on three films, with Race 3 set for an Eid 2018 release. The expected budget for the film is slated to be around Rs 1 billion to Rs 1.2 billion. Salman has also signed Ali Abbas Zafar’s Bharat, Dabanng 3 and Kick 2. He also hosts the reality TV show Bigg Boss. The total loss to the superstar is slated to be Rs 4-6 billion if he is jailed.
Watch: Salman Khan gets sentenced to five years in jail in the Blackbuck poaching case:
With agency inputs