Jodhpur: Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was found guilty and sentenced to five years in jail in a blackbuck poaching case dating back to 1998. While fellow accused - Bollywood actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam were acquitted, Salman was pronounced guilty and fined Rs 10,000 as well.
Salman Khan was found guilty as the court observed there was enough evidence against the actor to implicate him in the case. His legal team had appealed for a lenient punishment but that was not to be. The sentencing essentially means that the actor could possibly spend at least one night behind bars.
Salman and the other Bollywood stars had been accused of poaching 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'. Public Prosecutor Bhawani Singh Bhati had said that all of them were in a Gypsy car that night, with Salman in the driving seat. He also said that when Salman spotted a herd of black bucks, he shot at and killed two of them.
Salman's counsel, however, had said that the prosecution had engaged in tampering and fabricating evidence as well as roping in fake witnesses to prove its case.
While Salman was charged under Section 9/51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, the other actors had been charged under Section 51 read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code.