Bollywood star Salman Khan is not the one for subtlety, except while talking about his relationships, of course. And he once again showed his candid and unabashed side while unveiling the trailer of his upcoming film Race 3, on May 15.
When a journalist asked Khan if he was worried about the five-year sentence he was handed before he was awarded a bail, considering there was a lot of money riding on him and Race 3, the actor shot back: "Did you think I was going to go in forever?"
When the journalist replied with a "No," Khan added "Thank you, because I was worried," reported News18.
While the superstar clearly took the question quite lightly, Twitter was quick to react and lash out at Khan for mocking the country's judiciary system with the "power of money."
"No never...we are Indian...and we know the power of money... police and justice both are up for sale to the highest bidder," wrote a user, while another added: "Eat sum humble pie Salman. Dsts quite arrogant response."
The Tiger Zinda Hai actor was on April 5 found guilty of hunting blackbucks in 1998, when the team of the movie "Hum Saath Saath Hain" was shooting in Jodhpur.
Last month, the city trial court had handed a five-year sentence to the actor and he had to spend about 48 hours in jail, before being awarded a bail. He had also been asked to furnish two bonds of Rs 25,000 each and was told that he would need the court's permission to fly out of the country.
The actor then appeared in the Jodhpur trial court to attend the suspension hearing in the blackbuck case on May 7. However, no decision was made and the next hearing has been scheduled for July 17.
Why it is illegal to hunt blackbucks
Blackbucks were often hunted in erstwhile princely states and 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.
What is the case about?
- The cast and crew were in Jodhpur, shooting for the movie "Hum Saath Saath Hain," in 1998 when Salman, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, and Sonali Bendre allegedly killed two blackbucks in the Kankani village.
- 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.
- 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.
- While the actor spent a week in jail, the sentence was suspended by the Rajasthan High Court.
- 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.
- The charges were later dropped due to lack of evidence.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.