What happened in 1998?

1. Salman Khan, along with his co-stars from the Bollywood film Hum Saath Saath Hain (We Are Together), are accused of killing rare antelopes known as blackbucks and chinkaras during the shooting for the film in 1998. The blackbuck is an endangered species protected under the Indian Wildlife Act.

2. Bollywood actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam — mall co-stars of Salman Khan for the Sooraj Barjatya film, are accused of accompanying the actor and being present in the vehicle when Khan shot the blackbucks in Kankani village near the western Indian city of Jodhpur. All four of them were acquitted of the charges on Thursday.

3. In February 2006, Khan is convicted under Section 51 of the Wildlife Act and given a one-year jail term, for killing two chinkaras at Bhavad village in Rajasthan in September 1998 during the shooting for the same film. The jail term is overturned after an appeal.

4. In April 2006, a Jodhpur sessions court gives Khan a five-year-sentence in the second chinkara case, where he was accused of hunting a blackbuck in Ghoda farms. Khan spends three days in jail after which he is granted bail. In November 2013, the Rajasthan High Court suspends the five-year sentence given in April 2006. But in January 2015, the Indian Supreme Court sets aside Rajasthan High Court’s stay on the sentence.

5. In June 2006, a local Jodhpur court frames charges against the actors in the third case. The charges were framed against Salman Khan under Section 51 (hunting) of the Wildlife Protection Act and against actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and local resident Dushyant Singh under Section 52 (abetment) of the Act.

6. In July 2016, the Rajasthan High Court acquits Khan in the two chinkara poaching cases, observing that there was no evidence to prove that the animals who were found dead were shot by the actor’s gun.

7. The blackbuck shooting took place near a village of Bishnois, a community known for its fierce protection of wildlife. According to villagers, they heard the gunshots and found the blackbucks’ carcasses. They are said to have chased the vehicles in which the actors were present but they drove away. However, Khan’s lawyer claimed there was no forensic evidence that the deer were killed by guns as no bullets were found.

8. The police filed a case against Salman Khan in October 1998 under the Arms Act for possessing and using unlicensed rifle and revolvers and using them for poaching the blackbuck. But a chief judicial magistrate in Jodhpur acquit the actor on January 18, 2017, saying the prosecution had failed to prove the charges against him.

9. Slamming Khan as a “habitual offender,” Jodhpur chief judicial magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri finds Khan guilty and sentences him to five years in jail yesterday.

10. Khan has had other brushes with the law. In 2014, the Bombay High Court acquitted Salman Khan in a drunken-driving, hit-and-run case. The judges found that prosecutors had failed to prove charges of culpable homicide, in which they accused Khan of driving while intoxicated in 2002 and running over five men sleeping on a sidewalk, killing one of them. The government of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, has challenged his acquittal in the Supreme Court.


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