The Rajasthan government has approached the Supreme Court against the acquittal of actor Salman Khan in two 18-year-old cases of deer poaching, a blow for the controversial actor who has had several run-ins with the law.
Rajasthan’s additional advocate general Shivmangal Sharma told IANS that hearing on the special leave petition is likely sometime after the Diwali vacations.
The government move comes after a popular uproar over Khan’s acquittal in July after the Rajasthan high court said the prosecution failed to prove charges and the evidence was too thin for convicting the superstar for killing Chinkaras or Indian gazelles.
The high court overturned two trial court verdicts that handed the actor one and five years’ imprisonment. Salman has spent 13 days behind bars.
The government move comes almost a year after the actor was cleared of all charges in a controversial 2002 hit-and-run case by the Bombay high court, triggering outrage and questions about whether the actor had used his star power to subvert the judicial system.
Chinkaras are a protected species and hunting them is banned. The actor was accused of hunting two chinkaras on September 26, 1998 in Bhawad village area of Jodhpur and another one two days later at Ghora Farm. Seven other accused in the Bhawad case were let off.
The actor was shooting for the film Hum Saath Saath Hain at that time. Two cases against Salman – black-buck hunting and possessing illegal arms – are still being tried at trial courts in the state.
The high court had observed that the prosecution failed to prove that a deer had even died as no carcasses were found. Moreover, the police couldn’t zero in on either the weapon used for the alleged hunt or the place where it took place.