Poaching case: Court defers hearing as Salman, co-actors fail to appear

A Jodhpur court today (January 25) deferred the hearing of the 1998 blackbuck poaching case against Bollywood actors Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu. The next date of hearing has been posted to Friday, January 27.

The actors, including a local resident, Dushyant Singh, were supposed to record their statements in the case today, but they failed to appear before the Chief Judicial Magistrate. The actors cited security reasons for their absence from the court.

Applications seeking exemption from personal appearance were submitted on behalf of the accused, saying police were not able to provide adequate security to them due to Republic Day celebrations. The state-level Republic Day celebrations are being held in Jodhpur this year.

Dushyant was present in the court. The prosecution witnesses have already recorded their statements in the court.

CJM Dalpat Singh Rajpurohit posted the matter to Friday, K.K. Vyas, counsel for Saif, Sonali and Neelam, was quoted as saying.

The five Bollywood celebrities have been accused of poaching blackbucks in October, 1998 on the outskirts of Kankani village near Jodhpur, during the shooting of Sooraj Barjatya’s film ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’.

Salman was also accused of carrying and using arms with expired licence, but the court acquitted him of the charges on January 18.