Salman Khan was on Thursday sentenced to 5 years in jail after being convicted in the 1998 Blackbuck poaching case by a Jodhpur court.
The sentence comes as a hammerblow to the Bollywood actor as he must now go to jail. He would have been able to get bail had the sentence been 3 years or less. Earlier reports had suggested that he would get a 2-year sentence.
A police vehicle is on standby at the time of publishing to take Salman Khan to Jodhpur Central jail. The jail barracks had reportedly been cleaned yesterday in preparation of such a judgment. A penalty of Rs 10,000 has also been imposed.
Earlier on Thursday, Salman Khan's co-accused, including Sonali Bendre, Neelam, Tabu and Saif Ali Khan were given the benefit of doubt and acquitted in the case. Salman Khan's sisters had broken down when he was held guilty. The actor's lawyers had argued for probation while the prosecution had argued for maximum punishment.
Update: Salman will be first taken to Mahatma Gandhi hospital first for a medical examination. Following that, he'll be taken to jail where he will be lodged in barrack number 2.
The heavily anticipated verdict pertained to several actors, including Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam allegedly being involved in killing two blackbucks on a midnight hunt in October 1998, as a result of which they were charged under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act.
The incident occurred near a village in Jodhpur while the stars were shooting for Hum Saath Saath Hain. The final arguments in the case were completed in the Jodhpur court on March 28 after which the judgment was reserved till April 5.
All the accused actors were present in the court for the pronouncement of the verdict after arriving in Jodhpur on Wednesday. There were massive security arrangements at the court for a number of reasons, including a known gangster's threat to shoot Salman Khan.
September 1998: Salman Khan who was shooting for his film 'Hum Saath Saath Hain' in Rajasthan reportedly hunted down two blackbucks in Kankani village. According to reports, accompanying him were his co-stars Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, and Sonali Bendre.
October 2, 1998: The villagers registered a complaint against Salman Khan and his co-actors accusing them of poaching.
October 12, 1998: Salman was arrested for poaching endangered animals but was released on bail within five days.
April 10, 2006: Salman Khan was convicted under the Wildlife Protection Act by a trial court. The actor was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment along with a fine of Rs. 25,000.
August 31, 2007: The Rajasthan High Court sentenced the actor to five years of imprisonment. The actor spent a week in the Jodhpur Central Jail after which the sentence was suspended following Salman's appeal.
July 24, 2012: The Rajasthan High Court finalised charged against the accused in the blackbuck poaching case which led to the commencement of the trial.
December 2012: In a revision of charges against Salman, the Rajasthan High Court charged the actor under Section 9/51 of the Wildlife Protection Act.
August 2013: Salman Khan was denied a visa for the UK due to the charges against him.
November 13, 2013: The Rajasthan High Court stayed the sentence against Salman Khan, thus, paving the way for the actor to get a visa for the UK.
July 9, 2014: The Supreme Court issued a notice to Salman Khan after the Rajasthan government approached the court challenging an earlier Rajasthan High Court order that had suspended his conviction in the case.
July 25, 2016: The Rajasthan High Court acquitted Salman Khan in the Jodhpur blackbuck and chinkara poaching cases stating that there was no evidence to prove that the animals, who were found dead, were fired at from the actor's licenced gun.
October 19, 2016: The Rajasthan government filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the High Court's decision to acquit Salman in the case.
November 11, 2016: Following the Rajasthan government's plea, the Supreme Court agreed to fast-track the hearing in the blackbuck and chinkara poaching against Salman Khan.
January 18, 2017: The Jodhpur High Court acquitted Salman Khan in the Arms Act case.
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