Rajasthan High Court Acquits Salman Khan in Blackbuck and Chinkara Poaching Case
Finally, the verdict on 18 years old case blackbuck and chinkara poaching case has come today. After a long trial in different courts, the Rajasthan High Court has acquitted Salman Khan in both the poaching cases.
While giving Salman Khan clean chit in poaching cases, Justice Nirmaljit Kaur said she did not find any criminative evidence to prove his involvement in killing chinkaras, which is the state animal of Rajasthan.
Rajasthan High Court had completed the hearing of the cases, which started in November 2015, in the last week of May, but didn’t disclose the decision at the time.
As per the reports, the actor has been given the benefit doubt due to lack of evidences against him. Some of the observations that led to the final verdict included:
- The prosecution failed to prove killing of the blackbuck for no carcasses were found
- The police couldn’t zero in on the weapon used and the exact place
- The pellets recovered from the animals didn’t match Khan’s licensed gun
- The jeep used for poaching is missing that further weakened the case
Two separate cases were registered against Salman Khan under section 51 of Wildlife Protection Act. He was first sentenced to one year and five years of imprisonment in trial court in 2006 for poaching two Chinkaras on September 26-27, 1998 and September 28-29, 1998, at Bhawad and Ghoda Farm in Mathania respectively. The actor challenged the sentences in the session court where his appeal was rejected. The session court referred the case to the High Court. Three appeals by the state government are still pending in the cases.
Salman’s counsel Mahesh Bora said that the actor was deceptively involved merely on the basis of the statement given by the driver, Harish Dulani. He further added, “The high court today allowed both the petitions and acquitted him in both the cases. The entire case was based on circumstantial evidences, which could not be proved by the prosecution.”
The defense counsel contented that the driver was never available for the cross-examination and hence his statement cannot be used as a major evidence in conviction of Salman Khan. He further argued that both the cases registered against the actor are based on circumstantial evidences and there is no eye-witness or material evidence against him.
The incident occurred during the shooting of movie Hum Saath Saath Hain. Besides the actor, seven other people including Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Amrita Singh were also accused for killing of blackbucks in Jodhpur, who were later let off.
So far the controversial actor had spent 13 days behind the bars for these cases.