HC finalises charges against Salman in black buck killing case



Jodhpur: The Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday revised the charges against actor Salman Khan and his colleagues in the 14-year-old black buck killing case, paving the way for start of trial in the case.

Disposing of a state government plea against a sessions court order dropping some of the charges against the accused, the High Court has held that Khan will be charged under Section 51 of Wildlife Act and Section 149 of IPC (Unlawful assembly), said Hastimal Saraswat, counsel for Salman Khan.

Section 51 of Wildlife Act carries jail sentence up to three years or fine or both.

Khan's other colleague who were caught with him-- Saif Ali Khan, Tabbu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre -- under section 52 ( Attempts to contravene, or abet the contravention of, any of the provisions of this Act) of Wildlife Act and section 149 of IPC against others, he said.

"After this decision of the high court, the trial will now commence in the lower court under Section 51 of Wildlife Act, and Section 149 of IPC against Salman Khan and under section 52 of Wildlife Act and section 149 of IPC against others," said Saraswat.

The matter was pending before the high court since 2006, when the state government had filed a revision petition in the court against sropping of some charges against these actors.

The lower court had framed charges under section 51 of Wildlife Act, 27 Arms Act and 148 of IPC against Salman Khan and section 52 of wildlife Act, 147 of IPC and 149 of IPC read with section 51 of Wildlife Act against others.

The defence had then filed a revision petition against these charges in the session court, terming them to be baseless and redundant.

Granting their petition, the session court had retained only charges of Wildlife Act.

But the state government went into the high court against this decision. The stars have been accused of poaching two Black Bucks in the intervening night of 1-2 October, 1998 in Kankani village near Jodhpur during the shooting of 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'.

Government counsel Mahipal Bishnoi said that now all the accused will have to appear in the trial court to hear the revised charges and for resumption of the trial.

Earlier, all of them had appeared in court on 19 June, 2006.

Salman Khan has been convicted for 1 year and 5 years for poaching of two Chinkaras at Bhawad and one Black Buck at Ghoda Farm (Mathania) in the intervening nigh of 26-27 September, 1998 and 28-29 September, 1998 respectively.

Appeals against these sentences both by Salman Khan and state government are pending in the high court.

PTI