Bollywood star Salman Khan convicted of antelope poaching case

Indian movie star was accused of killing antelopes back in 1998, while shooting a film in the state of Rajasthan.

    Top Bollywood actor Salman Khan has been found guilty in an almost two-decade case involving the killing of two Indian antelopes, while shooting a film in the state of Rajasthan.

    In a decision issued on Thursday, a court in the northwestern city of Jodhpur said Khan is liable for violating the country's wildlife law for the October 1998 incident.

    Khan, who was present at the reading of the verdict, could face up to six years in jail for the conviction, according to Indian media.

    Khan's lawyers are seeking a shorter prison sentence. 

    Local TV network, NDTV, reported that depending on the length of his jail time, he could apply for bail either in the local court or through the appeals court.

    Khan's four fellow actors, who were also accused of involvement in the case, were all acquitted.

    A crowd gathered outside the court to get a glimpse of movie star Khan and his co-accused actors.

    The Indian antelopes, also referred to locally as blackbucks, are endangered species and considered as protected under Indian law. It is also revered by residents of Rajasthan.

    For years, the case has been faced with several delays, including efforts to dismiss parts of the charges. The trial began only in 2013.

    He pleaded "not guilty" to the charge, and insisted the evidence presented against him was "false", according to The Hindu news website.

    Khan was also accused of two other cases of killing two blackbucks and an Indian gazelle, also known as chikara also in the state of Rajasthan.

    But in January, he was acquitted in a criminal case for possession and use of firearms, with an expired license, during the alleged hunting incidents.

    A driver, who witnessed the killing, however, said that Khan had shot the animals.

    In 2002, Khan was also involved in a Mumbai hit-and-run case, which killed a homeless man and injured four other people. 

    A police bodyguard who was with Khan said the actor was the driver of the Land Cruiser, when the accident happened.

    For that case, he was sentenced to five years in jail, but his prison time was later suspended pending appeal.

    One of Bollywood's most popular stars, Khan has appeared in almost 100 Hindi-language films in his three decades film career.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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