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Salman Khan grants bail after poaching conviction

2018-04-07 09:03:17

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In a major relief to Salman Khan, the Jodhpur sessions court on Saturday granted bail to the Bollywood actor in the blackbuck poaching case of 1998 with two bonds of Rs 50,000 each. Hearing Khan's bail plea on Friday, Jodhpur District and Sessions Court Judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi had reserved his judgment until Saturday. 

A day before, a Jodhpur court had convicted the Bollywood star for killing two blackbucks, an endangered species, 19 years ago while shooting for the film Hum Saath Saath Hain, and sentenced him to five years in jail, Business Standard reports.

The other co-accused in the case -- actors Tabu, Saif Ali Khan, Neelam and Sonali Bendre -- were acquitted of all charges.

Meanwhile, Judge Joshi, who was scheduled to hear the actor's bail plea in the blackbuck poaching case, has been transferred by the Rajasthan High Court, along with 87 other district judges. The judge had asked for more documents, such as files of previous cases heard by Rural and High Courts before taking a decision on the actor's bail plea.

Salman Khan's case was presented in the sessions court on Friday by senior advocate Mahesh Bora, who came with a 51-page bail application. He said the witnesses' statement should not be trusted in the case and argued that the actor should be given the benefit of the doubt. He also questioned why only Salman Khan had been convicted and all other co-accused acquitted.

The Bollywood actors accused in this case allegedly went hunting on October 1-2 in 1998 outside a forest reserve near Kankani village in Jodhpur while shooting for Hum Saath Saath Hain.

The Jodhpur sessions court judge on Saturday heard Salman Khan's bail plea and decided to pass order bail after lunch. This was after the prosecution read out the eyewitness account before the judge and said the rural court’s verdict should not be suspended. The eyewitness account proves Salman Khan’s crime, the Prosecution read. After hearing both sides of the arguments, judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi shut his eyes for few minutes, smiled and said he needed some time.

According to sources, Salman Khan's counsel Hastimal Saraswat argued that the actor has never jumped bail in the past and has always appeared for trials in the case.

Ahead of the hearing, Salman Khan's sister Alvira and his long-time bodyguard Shera were at the court. Hundreds of fans also thronged outside the Jodhpur sessions court, hoping the actor would get bail today.

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