Bollywood superstar Salman Khan spent his first night at Jodhpur Central Jail as Qaidi (prisoner) No. 106, after a court found him guilty of killing two endangered blackbuck 20 years ago and sentenced him to five years in jail. His bail request will be heard today. Four other Bollywood stars, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam Kothari, were acquitted for lack of evidence. While delivering the verdict on Thursday in the blackbuck poaching case, the judge said, "The way the accused killed two innocent black bucks in violation of the wildlife laws…he is a film star, people emulate him… there has been a rise in poaching incidents, so leniency is not justified." Salman Khan’s lawyer said his bail papers are ready and the hearing will take place at 10:30 am in the Jodhpur sessions court.
Here are the top 10 updates on Salman Khan blackbuck poaching case:
- Salman Khan, 52, was taken to Jodhpur Central Jail on Thursday evening, hours after he was convicted in the blackbuck poaching case. There is heavy security at the jail because of the superstar’s presence. Salman Khan has been kept alone in cell and nobody is allowed to meet him. The actor has his own guards in jail.
- The two blackbucks were shot dead near a village of the Bishnoi community in October 1998, when Salman Khan and other actors – Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam Kothari – went on a hunt after spending the day shooting for their film, "Hum Saath Saath Hain".
- Villagers of the Bishnoi community, who filed the case against the actors and pursued the poaching case for almost two decades, celebrated on Thursday after Salman Khan’s conviction.
- Salman Khan had spotted a herd of blackbuck and shot dead two of them, the court was told. The Bishnois alleged that they took a bike and chased the Gypsy that Salman Khan was driving.
- Police said Salman Khan’s family could meet him once a week, but given that his bail request is coming up, his lawyer can meet him anytime.
- If he doesn’t get bail today, the actor has to stay in jail for three more days as the court will reopen only on Monday.
- While Salman Khan is the most high-profile inmate at Jodhpur Central Jail, his fellow prisoners include Asaram Bapu, the disgraced "godman" accused of raping a 15-year-old schoolgirl in his ashram in 2013 and Shambhu Lal Regar, who hacked a man to death, filmed the deranged act on video and shared it on social media.
- Several people from Bollywood, including veteran actor Jaya Bachchan, Arjun Rampal and Subhash Ghai, openly declared their disappointment at the verdict and backed Salman Khan.
- Salman Khan has nearly Rs. 600 crore riding on him, according to film industry analysts, and the verdict will affect at least three big projects. Mr Khan’s current film ‘Race 3’, is scheduled for an Eid release.
- In 2015, Salman Khan was cleared in a 2002 hit-and-run case in which his Toyota Land Cruiser had crashed into men sleeping on a pavement in Mumbai’s Bandra, killing one. In 2016, the Rajashtan High Court acquitted Khan in a separate poaching case, ruling that there was no proof that Khan had killed an endangered chinkara or endangered gazelle.