1998 Poaching case: SC sends notice to Salman Khan

Salman Khan is busy these days with the promotion of his film ‘Kick’. The response from the public has been phenomenal. Just when everyone thought Salman will be taking Bollywood by storm again, he has been put in a tricky situation. On Wednesday, 9th July, Supreme Court of India issued a notice for him regarding the infamous black buck poaching case that dates back to 1998. The apex court was hearing a plea made by the Rajasthan government challenging the Rajasthan High Court order that suspended Salman’s conviction in the case. Salman has been asked to file his reply within four weeks.

In 1998, Salman along with co-stars was staying in Rajasthan for the shooting of the film `Hum Saath Saath Hain`. Salman and his fellow actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre were accused of poaching two blackbucks in a village near Jaipur during the night between October 1 and 2. Eventually it was Salman who became the prime accused as he was the one who fired from his weapon. The others were accused of inciting him.

He had to spend some time in jail and there were protests against him in various parts of the country. Soon after the start of the trial his revolver and rifle were seized and it was revealed that the license of guns have expired. Then he was also booked under the Arms Act. On 17 February 2006, Salman was given a one year jail term and Rs 5000 fine by a trial court under the Wild Life Act.  Although High Court stayed the sentence at that time, few months later on April 10th he was given a five year jail term.

Salman spent 3 days in Jodhpur jail before getting bail. Last year, Salman’s counsel told the court that there was no direct evidence that proved Salman was carrying guns with expired licenses. Eventually both the High court and the Supreme Court ruled that Salman could not be booked under Arms Act and sent the case back to the lower court.

In November, Rajasthan High Court gave an order to suspend Salman’s conviction so that he could travel outside India for shooting purposes. Rajasthan government had appealed to SC against that order and as a result the notice was sent to Salman. Salman is also in a tough position regarding the 2002 hit and run case. Key eyewitnesses have indentified him from the accident spot and so far the trial has been going against Salman.