Black buck died of natural causes: Salman Khan
Bollywood actors Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam today recorded their statements before the chief judicial magistrate court (Jodhpur district) in the 18-year-old black buck case. Salman Khan said, "Only the forensic report of Dr Nepalia saying that the animal died of natural causes was true and the rest of the evidence is false."
On 28 September 1998, Salman Khan along with other Bollywood actors like Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam had allegedly hunted a blackbuck deer in the Manthania village in Rajasthan. The Rajasthani Bishnoi community had filed a police complaint against Salman Khan and other actors on 2 October 1998 for killing the deer in the village premises.
After the complaint by the local community had been received, Salman Khan was arrested on 12 October 1998 for illegal possession of arms and killing the endangered deer. But, he was released later on 17 October 1998 on bail.
In February 2006, Salman Khan was sentenced to one-year-jail-term by a lower court in the chinkara and blackbuck poaching case. A higher court stayed the decision during the appeal. Under the Wildlife Protection Act, Salman was arrested by a trial court on 10 April 2006 and was sentenced to a five-year-jail-term and was fined Rs.25,000. He was released three days later, on bail.
A session's court upheld the trial court's order during the hearing of Salman Khan's appeal against the trial court's sentence to convict him on 24 August 2007. The session's court had supported the trial court's sentence and dismissed Salman's appeal against conviction. But, on 31 August 2007, Rajasthan HC rejected Salman's conviction but, asked him not to leave the country without permission.
The Rajasthan HC had finalized charges against Salman and ordered the trial in July 2012. Later in 2014, the Supreme Court issued a notice to Salman with regard to Rajasthan government's appeal challenging the suspension of conviction by Rajasthan HC.
Actor Salman Khan has been acquitted by the Rajasthan High Court in the blackbuck and Chinkara poaching case. He had appealed a lower court verdict that sentenced him to 1 and 5 years imprisonment over the two cases. The decision comes as a huge relief to the actor, who could have faced an arrest warrant issued against him over the matter.
Salman Khan's driver, Harish Dulani, a key witness to the blackbuck and chinkara poaching incident stated that the actor indeed shot the endangered gazelle. Harish Dulani was pronounced missing as a witness in the case and had not attended any of the trials. He stated that he was living in fear as he was threatened every time he attempted to attend the court case.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a plea challenging the High Court's decision to acquit Salman Khan in the Chinkara poaching case. State Law Minister Rajendra Rathore said the state government studied the verdict and "has decided to appeal against the decision in the Supreme Court." The SC has issued a notice to Salman Khan over the development.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate's court in Jodhpur has acquitted Salman Khan on charges of illegally using fire arms with an expired license. The Rajasthan High Court had earlier acquitted him of 2 charges of poaching Chinkara. However, the case of poaching blackbucks is still under trial. Khan had argued that he had been framed by the Forest Department.