Rajasthan High Court, on Monday, approved the transfer of two petitions in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case that involves actor Salman Khan. The pleas in the case will now be heard by the High Court, instead of the Jodhpur District and Sessions court.
One of these was Khan’s challenge of his five-year conviction in the case relating to the hunting of two blackbucks. This plea was filed at the District and Session Court on April 5, 2018. Another petition by the state, which challenged Khan’s acquittal in a case under the Arms Act, had already been pending in the same court.
Meanwhile, the state had also challenged the acquittal of five others, namely actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam, and Tabu and a local resident. This petition had been pending at the Rajasthan High Court.
All three pleas will now be heard by the High Court itself.
“After a brief hearing, Justice PS Bhati granted permission to transfer the two petitions to the high court, where one petition by the state is already pending. Hearing of all these cases will now take place at one place, which will save valuable time,” said Khan’s counsel HM Saraswat.
During the shooting of the Hindi film Hum Saath Saath Hain in the forests near Jodhpur in 1998, Khan was booked by the Rajasthan police for allegedly killing two blackbucks in Bhagoda ki Dhani, located in Kankani village. He was charged under section 9/51 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
His co-actors on the film, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam, and Tabu were also charged under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and under Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code. However, they were later acquitted.
Two other cases were also registered against Khan for hunting chinkara in the outskirts of Ghora Farm House and Bhavad village. A fourth case was registered against Khan as well, under the Arms Act for keeping a weapon under an expired arms license.
In 2016, he was acquitted of all charges due to the lack of evidence. However, after the state government moved the Supreme Court challenging his acquittal, the Jodhpur court convicted him and sentenced him to five years of imprisonment in 2018. He is currently out on bail.