Not guilty: Salman Khan acquitted in Arms Act case

Salman Khan was today (Jan 18) acquitted by a Jodhpur court, giving him the benefit of doubt, in the 18-year-old Arms Act case. Chief Judicial magistrate Dalpat Singh Rajpurohit, in a 102-page judgement, held the actor “not guilty” and ruled that the prosecution has failed to prove the charges framed against him.

Salman was charged under sections 3/25 and 3/27 of the Indian Arms Act, for keeping an unlicensed weapon and using it during the poaching incident in 1998.

Salman's lawyer Hastimal Saraswat argued that the actor only had air guns and there was no evidence that he had used firearms. He maintained that the actor was framed in the case by the forest officer. An eyewitness for the prosecution never showed up. The judge also said two post mortem reports on the animal listed different causes of death - dog-bite and gunshot wound.

Salman was present in the court with his sister Alvira Khan Agnihotri when the verdict was read out. They welcomed the judgement, along with the huge gathering the ‘Sultan’ actor’s fans. Minutes after the verdict, Salman thanked his fans on Twitter and wrote, “Thank you for all the support and good wishes.”

The Arms Act case is one of the four against the actor after the poaching incident, which took place when Salman was in Rajasthan shooting for the film ‘Hum Saath Saath Hai’. The Rajasthan High Court has acquitted him in two cases of poaching of chinkara, last year, while trial in the third case of alleged poaching of two blackbucks is on.

The Rajasthan government has already moved the Supreme Court via a special leave petition against Salman’s acquittal in the two cases under the Wildlife Protection Act for poaching chinkara.

Salman’s co-stars in the Sooraj Barjatya film - Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu, have been asked to appear in court on January 25 to record their statements in the case.