Salman Khan
Salman Khan arrives at a court to hear the verdict in the long-running wildlife poaching case against him in JodhpurAFP/Getty Images
  • Salman Khan appeared in the Jodhpur trial court to attend the suspension hearing in the blackbuck case
  • He was handed a five-year sentence April 5, but is currently out on bail
  • Other co-stars Sonali Bendre, Tabu, Saif Ali Khan and Neelam were acquitted in the case
  • The next hearing had been scheduled for July 17

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan once again reached Jodhpur in the north Indian state of Rajasthan and appeared in the city trial court Monday, May 7. The hearing is in regards to the 1998 blackbuck poaching case, for which he was sentenced to five years in jail April 5. However, the actor at the time had been handed a bail.

The actor was in the court for minutes for the hearing on the suspension of his sentence on Monday and left soon after the hearing. The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for July 17.

The case was heard by the district and session Judge Chandra Kumar Songara and the actor had reached Jodhpur along with his sister Alvira Khan, friend Baba Siddiqui and his lawyers.

 The Tiger Zinda Hai actor was in Jodhpur in April and even spent about 48 hours at the Jodhpur Central Jail. He was later given bail and was asked to furnish two bonds of Rs 25,000 each. 

He was alloted badge number 106 and was lodged at barrack number two. He was reportedly very restless in the jail and paced outside his barrack. He was then was asked to go back in due to security concerns.

Reports also said that he was given newspapers to read and he spent most of his time working out.
The jail staff served him dinner at 7.30pm inside the ward. His dinner comprised cucumber, a tomato curry, dal and chapati. "He has been given extra security. So, unlike other prisoners, he is not supposed to come out and take his dinner. He was served dinner inside his ward," a jail official had at the time told the Times of India.

The actor reportedly didn't eat much and had refused breakfast. He later asked the jail staff if he could buy something from the canteen. "He asked for a glass of milk and bread, which was given to him," jail superintendent Vikram Singh added.

What the blackbuck case is all about

  1. The actors were in Jodhpur, shooting for the movie "Hum Saath Saath Hain," in 1998 when Salman, Saif, Tabu, and Sonali allegedly killed two blackbucks in the Kankani village.
  2. The villagers, mostly the Bishnois, a traditional community that protects the deer, then filed a complaint against the actors and the case has been going on since.
  3. Salman was convicted in one of the cases in 2006 and was sentenced to five years in prison along with a penalty of Rs 25,000.
  4. While the actor spent a week in jail, the sentence was suspended by the Rajasthan High Court.
  5. Salman was also booked in a case of illegal possession of arms as the license of the arms he allegedly used while hunting down the blackbucks had expired.
  6. The charges were later dropped due to lack of evidence.
  7. A bench of the Rajasthan High Court then finalized the charges against the actor in the poaching case, hence giving the trial a go ahead.
  8. 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.
  9. The final hearing in the case was completed March 28, and chief judicial magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri had reserved the verdict, reported the Press Trust of India.

Why it is illegal to hunt blackbucks

Even though blackbucks were often hunted in princely states before, the population saw a drastic drop in the 20th century. Blackbucks are now considered endangered and protected under Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Act. The punishment for hunting blackbuck is up to six years in prison.