Salman Khan, the prime accused in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case, was found guilty by a Jodhpur sessions court on Thursday. But the actor had once said he rescued the animal, which gave rise to the entire controversy.

In an interview with NDTV, Salman had said he along with the other four accused -- Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu -- had spotted a "petrified" deer stuck in a bush, whom he rescued and even gave water and biscuits.

Salman Khan
Salman Khan's blackbuck poaching case verdict to be out on Thursday.Varinder Chawla

The superstar also said he believed the case against him had its roots in this gesture of his.

"One day after packup we were driving by and there were all of us. We saw a deer fawn, stuck in a bush. The whole herd was there. He (fawn) was petrified. I took him out of there, gave him some water. The whole pack was there. He ate a few biscuits and then went away. I think from this incident the whole thing came up," Salman said in the interview.

The Tiger Zinda Hai actor, along with the other four stars, was accused of hunting down two endangered blackbucks in Kankani village while they were in Jodhpur for the shooting of Hum Saath Saath Hain.

Members of the Bishnoi community had then filed a complaint against Salman for allegedly killing the animals. Salman was booked under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and the others were charged under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC.

While Salman was convicted in the case, the other four actors were acquitted Thursday. There are reports now claiming that the Bishnoi community has decided to appeal against the acquittal of the other four stars.

On the other side, the sessions court has sentenced five years imprisonment for Salman. However, he can challenge the verdict at higher court.