The actor was found guilty of killing two blackbucks, a rare antelope species protected by Indian law, back in 1998 and given a five year jail sentence which he can appeal against.
Bollywood star Salman Khan was found guilty Thursday by an Indian court for killing two blackbucks, a rare antelope species protected by Indian law in a poaching case stemming from 1998.
Khan, 52, was awarded a five year jail sentence of a maximum six year term and a fine of $154 (10,000 rupees). According to local reports, following the sentencing, Khan was taken into custody. Khan can appeal in a higher court but it was not immediately clear when that will happen.
The incident took place in 1998 near Jodhpur, in the western state of Rajasthan, where the actor was filming a movie, Hum Saath Saath Hain (We Are All Together). During a break from filming, Khan allegedly went on an illegal hunting trip with some of the film’s co-stars, actresses Neelam, Tabu and Sonali Bendre, along with actor Saif Ali Khan (who stars in Netflix’s upcoming first Indian series Sacred Games). They were also present for the hearing but have been acquitted by the Jodhpur court in Thursday’s ruling.
According to local reports, in an earlier hearing in the long-running case, the actor had pleaded his innocence, claiming before the court that the blackbuck died of “natural causes” and that he was being “framed”.
Given that Khan is one of India’s most bankable stars, the case has sparked a media frenzy and is yet another legal headache for the star who has a litany of issues over the years. In 2015, he was found guilty in a hit-and-run case where he was accused of killing one homeless man and injuring others while driving drunk in Mumbai in an incident dating back to 2002. But Khan successfully appealed the conviction verdict and the Bombay High Court cleared him of all charges.
In a career spanning three decades, Khan has delivered some of Bollywood’s biggest hits such as his recent release, Tiger Zinda Hai (Tiger Is Alive). He is also the host of the Indian version of Big Brother which airs on Viacom18’s Hindi network Colors.
Updated at 2:41 a.m. PT with jail sentence details.