#BlackbuckPoachingCase: Jodhpur HC issues fresh notices to Saif, Sonali, Tabu
A Jodhpur High Court issued fresh notices to actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu, and Neelam Kothari in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case. The notice was issued after the Rajasthan Government challenged the 2018 acquittal of these actors by a Jodhpur court. Notably, Salman Khan was also accused in the case and was convicted by the Jodhpur Court last year. Here's more.
State government makes an appeal in the court
State Government intended to file an appeal in September 2018
The state government intended to file the appeal before the Jodhpur High Court against these actors in September 2018. According to reports, the government officials said that along with the acquitted celebs, Dinesh Gawre should also be tried in the case. For the uninitiated, Gawre was also one of the accused in the case and has been missing for a long time.
Gawre, Salman's close aide, gave him the gun for hunting
Gawre, a Bandra resident, was Salman's close aide, and was the one who gave the gun to the actor to shoot the deer. While Gawre was also being tried in the case, he went missing in April 2018 after he got bail in the case.
Saif, Tabu, Sonali accused of poaching blackbucks in 1998
To recall, Saif, Tabu, Sonali and Neelam were accused of poaching near-threatened blackbucks in Jodhpur's Kankani village in September 1998 where their co-star Salman had gunned down two blackbucks. The incident took place when these actors were shooting for the movie Hum Saath Saath Hain. On October 2, 1998, the Bishnoi community filed a complaint against Salman and other actors in the case.
'Actors were in a Gypsy, fled after killing the deer'
In the final hearing on April 5, 2018, public prosecutor said that the actors were in a Gypsy car that night, which Salman was driving. When he saw a blackbucks' herd, he shot and killed two, but fled when locals saw them, leaving the dead animals there. Salman is facing charges under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, and can be imprisoned for six years.
Salman was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment
While Saif, Sonali, Neelam, Tabu and Dushyant (travel agent) were acquitted in the case on April 5 last year, Salman was awarded five-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 10,000 was also levied. Notably, Salman was convicted under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act. He spent just two nights at the Jodhpur Central Jail before he was granted bail by the Sessions Court.
Main reason: Blackbuck hunting is a punishable offense in India
The reason why the entire controversy started is because blackbuck poaching is prohibited in India, as per Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. There was a time when blackbucks were seen in abundance in the Indian subcontinent, with around 80,000 spotted in 1947. However, with increasing human population, their number reduced to 8,000 by 1964, thus terming them as near-threatened species.