Blackbuck case: Salman Khan's bail hearing adjourned

Blackbuck case: Salman Khan's bail hearing adjourned

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan will have to spend another night in Jodhpur's Central Jail, after a Sessions Court adjourned a hearing on the actor's bail plea till Saturday.

District and Sessions Court Judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi heard arguments on the suspension of sentence and bail application before deferring the matter till Saturday.

Moreover, the court heard the defence counsel's arguments and the the prosecution will present their arguments on Saturday.

In his arguments, defence counsel Mahesh Bora said there were various loopholes in the investigation.

He argued that no probe in any of the cases of poaching proved that Salman used firearms.

"The court has asked us to present records on Saturday. After hearing the public prosecutor's arguments, it will deliver its order on the actor's bail plea. We are ready with a 51-page bail plea, which raises 54 grounds on which the superstar can be granted bail", Mahesh Bora, the actor's counsel for sessions court, told DH.

Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Joshi also sought a record of the case from the lower court.

"We have argued that the eyewitness in the case was not reliable," Bora added.

A trial court in Jodhpur on Thursday convicted actor Salman Khan in the two-decade-old blackbuck poaching case and sent him to five years in prison.

However, five others, including his co-stars Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam, and a local travel agent Dushyant Singh, were acquitted.

Order stated

Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri, after hearing both the sides, pronounced the verdict and convicted the actor on the basis of evidence gathered against Salman from DNA fingerprinting report, postmortem report of the blackbuck and an eyewitness.

The order stated: "Salman Khan is not any regular actor, he is a star who has a huge fan following. His fans imitate him and it becomes his responsibility not to break any law".

Hence, the actor has been convicted, while the others have been given the benefit of the doubt, Judge Khatri ruled.

Salman was also fined Rs 10,000.

The actor has been convicted under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, which carries a maximum punishment of six years and a minimum one-year jail term.

The case dates back to October 1998 when Khan, Saif, Neelam, Tabu and Sonali went on a hunting expedition in Kankani and killed two blackbucks.

The actors were in Rajasthan to shoot for the Hindi film "Hum Saath Saath Hain".

The blackbucks were killed near a village inhabited by Bishnois, a community that revers the blackbuck and is passionate about protecting the animal.

Blackbucks are an endangered species and hunting them is prohibited under the Wildlife Protection Act.

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