Salman Khan birthday
Salman Khan.Varinder Chawla

The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Court of Jodhpur on Wednesday acquitted actor and Bigg Boss 10 host Salman Khan in connection with an Arms Act case from 1998. He had been charged with possession and use of a weapon whose licence had expired.

This was the same gun with which he had allegedly killed a blackbuck or chinkara. However, apparently, the prosecution failed to provide enough evidence that Salman Khan was in possession of the gun with the expired licence, or had used it, leading the CJM court to exonerate him. Salman had earlier said the forest department was trying to frame him in the case. 

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With the acquittal, the Sultan actor can now walk free from the court, with the spectre of seven years of jail — the maximum punishment had been found guilty — no more hanging over his head. Salman can now resume shooting for Tubelight with his Chinese co-star Zhu Zhu. 

Salman had been booked under various sections of the law in connection with the poaching of a blackbuck in October 1998 in Rajasthan, where he was shooting with fellow actors for the Rajshree Productions film, Hum Saath Saath Hain. 

Salman has already been acquitted in the blackbuck poaching case, but the Rajasthan government has approached the Supreme Court challenging his acquittal. The blackbuck, or chinkara, is an endangered animal accorded the highest protection under the Wildlife Protection Act.

Meanwhile, there are rumours that the Bigg Boss 10 host may have received some kind of help from an influential politician from Rajasthan, which led to his acquittal. Congress leader Bina Kak, who was Rajasthan's minister for environment and forests for some time when her party was in power, has been rumoured to have told the forest department to go easy on Salman Khan. 

The two have starred together in a number of films, but she is best remembered for playing his mother in the film Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya.