Jodhpur: Bollywood superstar Salman Khan received a five-year sentence in the blackbuck poaching case on Thursday. He also received four blankets to sleep on in the Central Jail here. The change from a Taj bed to the prison's hard wooden bed in prison in 24 hours must have been tough but with the hope that he gets bail - and therefore some relief - on Friday.
Salman was pronounced guilty in the infamous blackbuck poaching case dating back to 1998. While all the other accused - including actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre - were given benefit of doubt and acquitted, Salman was put in an official police car after the sentencing instead of a chartered flight that was to fly him back to Mumbai in case he was set free. Fans cried, wildlife activists rejoiced, a nation wondered how one of Indian film's biggest star would manage the rigours of prison. Some reports claimed that Salman's manager had brought clothes, packed food items from the Hotel Taj along with a plate for the actor. Jail superintendent Vikram Singh though said that no special treatment was given. He also said Salman had high blood pressure when he arrived first but it soon returned to normal. The actor was served daal and roti for dinner - which he refused - in his solitary cell next to where rape-accused Asaram is at.
And it may well turn out to be only a night's ordeal as Salman's legal team is ready to seek his bail. He has been charged under Section 9 of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 for having shot dead two blackbucks - an endangered animal - in Bhagoda ki Dhani in Kankani village near Jodhpur on October 2, 1998, during the shooting of the movie 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'. While he has denied the charges made against him, the judge found evidence against him to be credible. Of course, Salman can now appeal the verdict in the High Court but legal experts believe getting bail would be of paramount importance on Friday.