H/l: Five years for Poacher Salman
Intro: Salman gets 5 years RI after Jodhpur court rejects appeal
From: Vrushali Lad
Mumbai: Bollywood’s proverbial bad boy Salman Khan is in deep trouble again, after a Jodhpur trial court rejected his appeal against a five-year imprisonment in connection with the chinkara poaching case of 1998.
However, the bad boy in question was nowhere to be found yesterday, though industry sources confirmed that Khan had arrived in Mumbai in the early morning hours. He remained untraceable till about 4.00 p.m., prompting speculation that he had decamped to avoid arrest, when news of his being at home but unreachable started trickling in.
Khan’s lawyer Dipesh Mehta gave a televised statement that, “Salman is not absconding, he is at home. We are considered the terms of the revision application that we will file tomorrow, and the reason he did not remain present in court yesterday was that he was not directed by the court to do so.”
The actor had been convicted and sentenced to a year's imprisonment on April 10 last year by chief judicial magistrate B K Jain, who had also slapped a Rs 25,000 fine on him.
Interestingly, if Khan had been present in court yesterday as Judge Singhvi read out the order rejecting the appeal, he would have been arrested and sent to jail immediately. The court would be closed today and tomorrow owing to weekly off, following which Khan would next appeal against the sentence on Monday. However, the court will be closed on Tuesday on account of Raksha Bandhan. This means that if Khan had been arrested yesterday, he would have faced a minimum of five days in jail before being granted bail. As it is, Khan only bought a day's freedom more by remaining untraceable yesterday.
Yesterday, the Jodhpur District and Sessions judge Kamalraj Singhvi issued a non-bailable warrant against the star, who had reportedly returned to Mumbai on Thursday night after a 10-day shooting schedule in Hyderabad.
The infamous chinkara-shooting incident – in which Khan had gunned down three chinkaras over two days while shooting was on for the Barjatya film 'Hum Saath Saath Hain' – had initially landed the actor in Jodhpur Central Jail on April 10 last year for three days before being released on bail.
After the sentence was upheld yesterday, police teams from Rajasthan were deployed to bring Khan from Mumbai. Meanwhile, the actor’s legal team said it would file a revision petition in the Rajasthan High Court, as well apply for suspending the sentence and hearing his case on a priority basis.
Hunting in Jodhpur:
From 1992 onwards, Jodhpur courts have registered 72 cases of animal hunting, of which only three have resulted in convictions. Of these, Khan accounts for two – he allegedly used his .32 bore revolver to kill three chinkaras and a .22 bore rifle to shoot two black bucks, all in 1998.
The other conviction to date, that of Bheel Singh from Oshiya village, had been sentenced to three years RI in 2000 for killing a black buck and also gunning down a villager who tried to save the deer. Singh was also awarded a lifer for the murder he committed, but is out on bail. Hence, Khan’s five-year sentence came as a something of a surprise when it was announced on April 10 last year.
Salman worth 100 crores in 2007
As in the case of the other Bollywood Bad Boy Sanjay Dutt, actor Salman Khan also has a lot of money, about Rs 100 crores, riding on his shoulders. Three important projects featuring Khan are under production – 'Saawariya', 'London Dreams' and 'God Tussi Great Ho' – all of which will release at the end of this year.
His recent releases, barring the Govinda starrer ‘Partner’, have not been hits. 'Baabul' (with Rani Mukherji), 'Salaam-e-Ishq' (a multi-starrer) and 'Marigold' (with Ali Larter and Khan’s first international project) were all big banner films that fared badly after a good initial opening.
The others got off
Interestingly, while Salman was given a one-year imprisonment term for shooting two black bucks on September 28, 1998, the others who accompanied him on the hunt were let off on grounds of insufficient evidence.
These included Khan’s co-stars on the then under-production 'Hum Saath Saath Hain', the Sooraj Barjatya multi-starrer that later tanked at the box office. Those on the hunt with Khan were Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam, Sonali Bendre and Satish Shah. Interestingly, actor Karisma Kapoor who was one of the lead actresses had reportedly declined going on the hunt since she was not on good terms with the other women.
Of these actors, Shah’s role was more prominent than the others, since he was actively involved in arranging for two jeeps and firearms for the shoot. Apart from the jeep carrying the actors, another jeep had been used to carry locals Kuldeep Singh, Mohd Hussain, Yashpal Singh, Mahendra Pal Singh, Dushyant Singh and M S Bhati. All of them were later acquitted for want of evidence.
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