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Sessions court confirms five-year imprisonment for Salman Khan

Special Correspondent

Warrant of arrest issued; plea for time to surrender turned down by court

– PHOTO: AP

SENTENCE CONFIRMED: Salman Khan stands in the balcony of his residence in Mumbai on Friday.

JAIPUR: The Jodhpur District and Sessions Court on Friday confirmed the five-year imprisonment handed out to Bollywood film star Salman Khan in the infamous antelope hunting case, which took place nine years ago in Rajasthan’s Sun City, Jodhpur. The court rejected Salman’s appeal for a repeal of the lower court judgment that was delivered on April 10, 2006.

The court also issued a warrant for the arrest of the actor who failed to turn up on the day of the verdict. Salman Khan’s sister Alvira, his counsel from Mumbai, Deepesh Mehta, and lawyer Hastimal Saraswat were present in the court. A request for 10 days’ time for the actor to surrender was turned down by the court, which said the matter was outside its purview.

There was heavy deployment of police in the court premises on Station Road. The authorities had banned entry of media persons and visitors into the court compound. The non-appearance of the actor seemingly disappointed his fans.

The District and Sessions Judge, Kamal Raj Singhvi, who confirmed the verdict of Chief Judicial Magistrate Brajendra Kumar Jain in the case, termed it uchit (tenable). Salman was found guilty of poaching a gazelle near Godha Farm du ring his stay in the city for the shooting of the film, Hum Saath Saath Hain, on September 28 and 29, 1998.

Khan was found guilty under Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act. The court completed the hearing on the petition on August 7. Another appeal from the actor, against the sentence of one-year imprisonment for poaching two deer in Bhawad village of Jodhpur, is coming up in the court on September 10. The verdict in this case was given by the lower court on February 16, 2006.

Penalty upheld

Another related case — for poaching two blackbucks in Kankani area under Luni police station — is pending against Salman and his co-actors, Saif Ali Khan, Neelam, Tabbu and Sonali Bendre. A case under the Arms Act also is pending against Salman Khan.

The District Court also upheld the penalty of Rs.25,000 imposed on Salman Khan by the lower court.

It, however, quashed the lower court’s order of one-year imprisonment and a penalty of Rs.5,000 to Govardhan Singh, who was charged with the wildlife crime of skinning the deer killed by the actor.

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