Salman Khan is no stranger to run-ins with the law. In fact, his career has been marked by multiple court cases. The blackbuck poaching case for which he was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of Rs 10,000 on Thursday has been going on for nearly twenty years. While Bollywood and his fans have come out in full support, the Bishnoi community, along with lawyers and activists have expressed their satisfaction with the verdict.
Khan spent the night in Jodhpur prison's barrack number 2 and was given inmate number 106. Asaram Bapu, too is lodged there. Salman Khan has been sentenced to five year in prison under Section 51 of Wildlife Protection Act for poaching blackbucks while filming for Sooraj Barjatya's Hum Saath Saath Hain in 1998.
While filming for the Barjatya's multi-starrer, Salman Khan along with his co-stars Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam, along with a local, Dushyant Singh allegedly went on a hunting session and killed two of the endangered animals near Kankani village in Jodhpur. The Bishnoi community, who are known for their environmental activism was enraged by this incident and filed a case against the actors. Not only for poaching, Khan was also accused of keeping an arm with an expired arm licence. He was later acquitted of that account. Moreover, the actor was also accused of killing two chinkaras in Bhawad and one in Mathania. He was acquitted of those charges as well by the Rajasthan High Court.
Both the sides completed their arguments on the poaching incident at the Jodhpur Sessions Court last week and the verdict was delivered yesterday. While the other accused were acquitted due to lack of evidence, Salman Khan was convicted and given a jail term.
As the quantum is more than three years, it makes him ineligible for a bail from the same court. Salman Khan has the option of appealing to a higher court and challenging the verdict. Meanwhile, his legal team's first course of action would be to get him bail from Jodhpur prison.
Here are the LIVE updates of the bail plea hearing:
11:59am: "Really Sad to see my friend Salman khan sentenced for 5 year But the Law must take its course & we got to respect the decision of honourable court of India but i still think punishment is to harsh but my heart goes to his family & fans... Am sure he will out soon... (sic)," said Shoaib Akhtar in a tweet.
Really Sad to see my friend Salman khan sentenced for 5 year But the Law must take its course & we got to respect the decision of honourable court of India but i still think punishment is to harsh but my heart goes to his family & fans ..- Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) April 5, 2018
Am sure he will out soon ..
11:57am: The order was deferred because Judge Ravinder Kumar Joshi asked for records from previous cases.
11:53am: Meanwhile, security has been beefed up at Galaxy Apartments. Fans gathered outside the star's residence hoping for positive news and catching a glimpse of the actor returing home. After the deferral, fans gradually dispersed.
11:46am: "I totally respect the Indian judiciary, always have, yet I find myself questioning this rather curious decision of letting everyone else off and convicting," says actor Rohit Roy.
I totally respect the Indian judiciary, always have, yet I find myself questioning this rather curious decision of letting everyone else off and convicting @BeingSalmanKhan 🤔🤔- Rohit Roy (@rohitroy500) April 6, 2018
11:25am: The order will be pronounced tomorrow at 10:30am. Salman Khan will have to spend another night in prison.
11:18am: Jodhpur court reserves bail order till tomorrow.
11:02am: According to Pakistan's Geo News, the country's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday said "Salman Khan has been sentenced because he's a minority," while speaking to anchor Hamid Mir. Asif further said, "Maybe if he belonged to the religion of the ruling party of India he would not have been given such a harsh sentence and the court might have been lenient with him."
10:52am: Salman Khan's sisters Alvira and Arpita reach the court.
10:45am: "Yesterday I got threatening SMSes and internet calls warning me not to appear for Salman Khan in bail hearing today," says Mahesh Bora, Salman Khan's counsel.
10:37am: "The accused is a popular actor whose deeds are followed by people. Despite this, the accused hunted two blackbucks," Judge Khatri said in his written judgment after Salman Khan was sentenced.
10:28am: According to multiple reports, a crucial and solitary witness failed to recognise Sonali Bendre and Tabu, while although Saif Ali Khan's presence at the scene was testified there was no evidence to show that he was complicit in the poaching. This led to the acquittal of the actors.
10:21am: The Sessions Court judge has arrived and the hearing would begin at 10:30am.
10:19am: Salman Khan's legal team is equipped with a 51-page bail application. They will be raising 54 grounds for the judge to consider the bail.