The 1998 blackbuck poaching case has come haunting back in Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam’s lives as the Jodhpur court is set to pass the final verdict today. Will the 5 actors be charged guilty of killing 2 black bucks dead? Or will they be proven innocent? The hearing is expected to take place shortly. Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri has just arrived in the court and from what we know, Salman along with the other four actors will reach by 11 am . But before you hear the final judgement, here’s all you need to know about this two-decade long case. When and how did Salman get accused of killing blackbucks? Did he shoot the black bucks or was Saif behind the gun? Here’s a lowdown of all the happenings, as and how it took place…Also read: Blackbuck poaching case verdict LIVE updates: Salman Khan to arrive in court at 11 am today
On the night of October 1, 1998, in the Kankani village of Rajasthan, five Bollywood stars Salman Khan. Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam apparently hunted two black bucks.
A police complaint was lodged on Oct 2, 1998, by the Bishnoi community, against Salman Khan and the others for hunting black buck deer on the midnight of Sep 28, 1998, within the limits of Mathania village. Salman Khan was arrested Oct 12, 1998, and was released Oct 17 on bail.
Khan was convicted in the black buck hunting case by a trial court April 10, 2006 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act and was awarded a five-years jail term along with a fine of Rs.25,000.
On August 24, 2007, the sessions court upheld the conviction and sentencing of Salman Khan as it dismissed his appeal against the trial court order. On August 31.2007, The Rajasthan High Court suspended the sentence, but told Salman not to leave the country without court’s prior permission.
On August, 2013, the actor was denied visa for UK, due to his conviction in the black buck case. On November 13, 2013, the Rajasthan high court stayed his sentence, which meant Salman could apply for the UK visa.
Last November , the Rajasthan government had moved to apex court against high court’s decision to stay his conviction in black buck case, paving way for him to get a UK visa. On November 5, 2014, Salman pleaded the Supreme Court that Rajasthan High court was right in staying his conviction as it would badly affect his shooting plans as he needs to obtain visa to travel abroad.
An apex court bench of Justice S.J. Mukhopadhyay and Justice A.K. Goel reserved its order, saying that Salman Khan’s conviction could not be stayed merely because it comes in the way of his getting a British visa.
On December 19, 2014, the Jodhpur court turned down actor’s plea to call officials as witnesses. The actor sought permission to produce the then DCP and DM of Mumbai, as witness, in connection with a case against him under Arms Act pertaining to the expiry of the license of arms used by him during the alleged poaching of black bucks on 1-2 October, 1998.
On October 19, 2016: The Rajasthan government filed a plea in SC against Rajasthan High Court’s rule, which acquitted Salman in two cases of chinkara and blackbuck poaching. On November 11, 2016: After Rajasthan government’s plea, SC fast-tracked hearing in two cases of blackbuck and chinkara poaching.
On July 25, 2016: Rajasthan HC acquitted Salman in Jodhpur case. The High Court acquitted the actor saying there was no proof that the animals who were found dead were killed by Salman’s gun.
On January 18, 2017: Salman Khan acquitted in Arms Act case by Jodhpur High Court.
If proven guilty, Salman, Saif, Tabu and Sonali Bendre will have to serve minimum 1 year of imprisonment or maximum of 6 years. Keep watching this space for LIVE updates on the case.