Scene: Friday, 7.30 pm, Galaxy Apartment, Bandra Bandstand.
He strolled out to the first-floor balcony, white T-shirt familiarly stretched across brawn, coolly surveyed the dusk sea and a street crowd suddenly spurred to raptures, and went inside to a room full of friends.
Seemingly any other day for superstar Salman Khan, except that a 1,000 km away in Jodhpur, the sessions judge had confirmed his five-year jail sentence a few hours ago.
The court pronounced him guilty and issued a non-bailable arrest warrant after rejecting an appeal against his 2006 conviction for killing a rare and protected species of gazelle, Chinkara, when he was shooting a film eight years ago in Rajasthan.
Five Rajasthan Police officials will leave for Mumbai in a train with the warrant on Saturday afternoon. "Salman will be brought back by train after his arrest. There is no provision for us to travel by air," said Hawa Singh Ghumaria, Superintendent of Police, Jodhpur (City). He said the police were trying to figure out Khan’s security since large crowds would besiege the stations.
Khan is expected to apply for bail on Monday. "The warrant is there and we will be filing a revision application before the Rajasthan High Court soon," his lawyer Dipesh Mehta told HT.
The rough legal weather made friends like actors Saif Ali Khan and Aditya Panscholi, director David Dhawan, and director of event management company Wizcraft Viraf Sarkari visit the Khan household. In Jodhpur, Khan’s sister Alvira wept at the court after the judge pronounced the sentence.
Animal activists did not share that emotion. "The judiciary has sent a clear message that poaching will not be tolerated, and that no-one is above the law," said Belinda Wright, executive director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India.