India

Blackbuck poaching case: Actors' acquittal to be challenged in Rajasthan High Court today

The sigh of relief for actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam Kothari has been short-lived. 

A 20-year-old high-profile case of blackbuck poaching has returned to haunt the quartet once again, barely five months after they were acquitted for the same.

The Rajasthan government and the state law department will be appealing against the acquittal of all 4 actors, along with Dushyant Singh, a resident of Jodhpur, in the 1998 case and the appeal will be filed in the

Rajasthan High Court on Monday, Rajasthan government's additional advocate general SK Vyas told DNA.

"After the verdict, the public prosecutor of the trial court had given his opinion to the law department whether an appeal should be filed. The law department and the state government considered all the facts and they have given sanction for filing an appeal. The sanction came recently and we will be filing the appeal at the Rajasthan High Court," Vyas said.

All the five accused were acquitted by the court of chief judicial magistrate (Jodhpur Rural) on April 5 this year.

Vyas said that along with these five persons, the appeal will also request that Dinesh Gawre, who was also charged in the case and has been missing for a long time, be tried as an accused.

It is believed that while shooting, Dinesh Gawre was the one who gave Salman Khan the gun from which the animal was shot dead.

When contacted, defence counsel Hastimal Saraswat said Tabu, Bendre and Kothari were not named in the FIRs, nor were they identified by anyone.

In its judgment on April 5, the court had found actor Salman Khan guilty of killing two blackbucks in Kankani village, near Jodhpur, in October 1998 and sentenced him to five years imprisonment along with a monetary fine of Rs 10,000.

Salman was released from the Jodhpur jail after being granted bail on a bond of Rs 50,000. He spent two nights in the Jodhpur Central Jail.

WHAT HAPPENED IN 20 YRS 

October 1, 1998  Salman Khan is accused of hunting and killing two Chinkara deers and a black buck while shooting for Hum Saath Saath Hain in Rajasthan

October 28, 2014  A prosecution witness identifies actors Sonali Bendre, Neelam, Tabu, Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan

January 13, 2017 A Jodhpur court asks Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Bendre, Neelam and Tabu to appear before it on Jan 25 for recording of their statements

April 5, 2018  Jodhpur court finds Salman Khan guilty under Section 9/51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and is sentenced to five years in jail and fines Rs 10,000. Court acquits Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Bendre

April 7, 2018  Salman released from the Jodhpur jail after being granted bail on a bond of Rs 50,000 & two sureties of like amount by a District and Sessions court. He spent two nights in the Jodhpur Central Jail

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