After spending two nights in Central jail after being sentenced to five-year imprisonment in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case, Bollywood actor Salman Khan was on Saturday granted bail by a Sessions court in Jodhpur.
District and Sessions Judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi granted bail to the 52-year-old actor on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two sureties of Rs 25, 000 each.
Salman has been directed not to leave the country and appear in court again on May 7.
The Judge had on Friday put off the bail matter till today saying he wanted to go through the entire case record.
Salman's counsel prayed that he be granted bail as they argued extensively on the credibility of witnesses and said the actor had not killed the animals and had rather tried saving them.
Following Salman’s bail, the Bishnoi community said it will move high court against it.
Salman was on April 5 sentenced to five years imprisonment in the two-decade-old Blackbuck poaching case while his co-actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabbu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam have been acquitted.
Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri has sentenced Salman behind bars for five years and also slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on him for poaching an endangered species of animal after convicting him for offence under section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act for killing two blackbucks in Bhagoda ki Dhani in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the intervening night of October 1-2, 1998 while there for shooting of film ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain”.
A travel agent named Dushyant Singh and another person named Dinesh Gawre were also accused in the case. Singh has also been acquitted but Gawre continues to be absconding.
Blackbuck is a protected species under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
It is to be noted here that following the incident of poaching, the Bishnoi community which is a firm believer in protection and conservation of nature, had lodged a complaint.
The members of the community had claimed they came out on hearing the gunshots and chased the gypsy which was being driven by Salman but the actors fled. They say the other acquitted actors were also in the Gypsy being driven by Salman.
The blood samples of the animal matched with stains found in Salman’s car.
The Blackbuck poaching case is the last of the three poaching cases the actor was facing.
Salman was earlier convicted in 2006 for poaching of three Chinkaras at Bhawad and Ghoda farms near Jodhpur on September 26 and 28, 1998.
Salman was sentenced to one year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000.
In 2007, the Rajasthan High Court suspended his sentence and later dropped the charges under the Arms Act against him.
In July, 2016, the Rajasthan High Court acquitted the actor.
The State had moved Supreme Court in October, 2016. The apex court has agreed to fast-track the proceedings in the cases.