Zee Media Bureau
Mumbai: Bollywood actor Salman Khan in an affidavit filed recently and submitted in the Supreme Court has appealed for a stay on his conviction in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case.
In the affidavit, the actor has argued that he is one of the highest tax payers in the country, and it is his fundamental right to practice his occupation which requires him to travel around the world.
“I am one of the highest individual tax payers in India... I am a philanthropist and associated with a charitable trust. My professional engagements generate taxable revenue and help in bringing in foreign exchange for India... My professional engagements as an established film actor also help in promoting the Indian film industry globally and for generating employment for the entertainment industry in India and encouraging cross cultural collaboration between film makers across the world,” DNA quoted Salman as arguing in the affidavit.
The Supreme Court on July 9, 2014, issued a notice to Khan on Rajasthan Government’s plea, challenging a High Court decision which had stayed his conviction in the blackbuck hunting case.
The Bench headed by Justice S J Mukhopadhaya asked Khan, who was sentenced to undergo five-year jail term by a trial court, to file his response within four weeks.
The State Government approached the apex court against the order of Rajasthan High Court which had, on November 12 last year, stayed his 2006 conviction in the case and paved way for him to apply for a British visa.
Under British immigration rules, any person convicted for more than four years is not eligible for a visa. Since the actor was convicted for five years, he was denied visa by the UK Embassy.
The passports of Indian convicts are stamped with the word “convict''.
Blackbuck is a protected animal and its hunting is a punishable offence. Khan was convicted and sentenced to one year and five-year prison term in separate cases of poaching of two Chinkaras at Bhawad and one black buck at Ghoda Farm (Mathania) on the intervening night of September 26-27, 1998 and September 28-29, 1998 respectively.
The actor had approached the High Court in 2007 seeking a stay on his conviction by a trial court so that he could file a fresh application for a British visa.
Besides Khan, actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam were accused of poaching near Jodhpur during the shooting of the film 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'.
(With PTI inputs)