Jodhpur: Convicting actor Salman Khan for killing blackbucks poaching case in 1998, a judge in Jodhpur court emphasised that the "accused is a film star and people look up to him".
Salman was sentenced to five years in prison and was taken straight to the Jodhpur Central Jail from court after the verdict was announced.
Salman, the main accused in the case and who was driving the car that night, was also fined Rs 10,000 by Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri.
NDTV reported that the judge, explaining his decision said, "Since the accused is a film star, people follow him and look up to him. And the way he killed innocent deer, and because there is rampant poaching..."
Tears rolled down Salman’s cheeks after he heard the jail term. His sisters Alvira and Arpita, who were present in court, also broke down. The actor was arrested inside the court premises in Jodhpur.
Four other co-stars of the 52-year-old actor, who were in Jodhpur in 1998 for the shooting of the film Hum Saath Saath Hai - Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam Kothari - were acquitted for lack of evidence.
"Salman Khan has been convicted under the wildlife protection act and the rest of the stars have been acquitted," prosecutor Mahipal Bishnoi told reporters.
The actor, however, had repeatedly denied shooting the antelopes, accusing instead the state's forest department of framing him over the poaching case.
A court in Jodhpur will hear his bail application on Friday.
Meanwhile, after medical examination, Salman Khan has been lodged in barrack number 2 of Jodhpur Central jail, which is close to the dispensary and next to the cell of spiritual leader and rape accused Asaram Bapu.
Salman Khan is prisoner number 106.
"Salman Khan has been given number 106 and is lodged in Ward number 2. He was made to undergo medical test and has no medical issues. He hasn't made any demands. We'll give him jail uniform tomorrow (Friday). Multiple-layer security has been put up for his ward," said Vikram Singh, Jodhpur DIG (Jail).
Veteran actor Jaya Bachchan, who took oath for her second stint as Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, expressed her sorrow over Salman Khan being sent to jail in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case. "I feel bad. He should be given relief. He has done a lot of humanitarian work”, said Jaya Bachchan.
In 2015, Salman was cleared of killing a homeless man in a hit-and-run accident in 2002. That decision is now being challenged in the Supreme Court....