In pics: Salman Khan inside Jodhpur Central Jail
On Thursday, a Jodhpur court sentenced Bollywood star Salman Khan to 5 years in jail. He was convicted for poaching a rare deer in 1998. While pronouncing his verdict, the judge called Salman a ‘habitual offender’.
Later, the actor was sent to the jail where he will remain till he gets bail. His lawyers are expected to appeal his conviction in the state High Court and seek bail for him this week.
Khan, 52, had spent a total of 18 days in prison in 1998, 2006 and 2007 in the poaching cases, but was freed on bail. He had been sentenced to prison terms of between one and five years in related cases before being acquitted by appeals courts for lack of evidence.
Four other stars also accused in the case - Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam - were acquitted by Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri. They were in the jeep that Salman Khan was believed to be driving during the hunt.
Salman Khan’s lawyer, Anand Desai, said in a statement, “We respect the decision of the Hon’ble Court. While we are studying the judgement it just came as a surprise, as the entire investigation, and facts of this case were the same as those for which Salman has been acquitted by the Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan in two cases, and even by the Hon’ble CJM in the Arms Act matter for the alleged offence on the very same night as is the subject matter of the present case. Also, in the present case the Hon’ble Court has acquitted all the 5 co-accused which would imply that Salman was out hunting alone in the middle of the night in a remote area outside Jodhpur. We have preferred an appeal to the Hon’ble Sessions Court and applied for an urgent hearing today. The Hon’ble Sessions Court will hear the appeal for suspension of the sentence / bail at 1030 tomorrow.”
The Bishnoi community, which protects the blackbuck deer, expressed disappointment at the acquittal of four actors in the case.
A lot is riding on Salman Khan in terms of money and his films. He is currently working on two big budget films, Race 3 and Bharat. While Ali Abbas Zafar is the director of Bharat, Race 2 is directed by Remo D’Souza.