A Rajasthan Court on Wednesday acquitted Bollywood star Salman Khan and gave him the benefit of the doubt in the Arms Act case in which he was accused of killing black bucks 18 years ago. The actor pleaded “not guilty” to charges of violating the law by keeping unlicensed weapons and using them.
This was one of the four cases filed against the actor.
A case under sections 3/25 and 3/27 of the Arms Act was filed against Khan for allegedly keeping and using the firearms with an expired licence in the poaching of blackbucks in Kankani near Jodhpur on October 1-2, 1998.
Khan went to the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) with his sister Alvira when the verdict was pronounced.
CJM Dalpat Singh Rajpurohit gave out a 102-page judgement in which he said the prosecution’s evidence against the 51-year-old actor was not adequate. Had he been found guilty, he would carry a sentence of up to seven years of imprisonment.
Arguments by both sides were completed on January 9 after which the CJM had reserved the judgement for today. Before this day, Khan had appeared in the court on March 10, 2016, for recording his statements. He had pleaded innocence and alleged that the forest department had framed him in this case. Khan’s lawyer argued that he only had air guns with him and there was no evidence of him using firearms.
Khan had earlier been acquitted by the Rajasthan court in the 1998 Blackbuck and Chinkara poaching cases. In 2007, Mr Khan spent a week in jail in Jodhpur before being granted bail. The Rajasthan government, however, had challenged the ordered and appeal to the Supreme Court.
It was last year that the Bombay High Court suspended the actor’s five-year prison sentence in a hit-and-run case where he was convicted of killing a homeless man with his SUV on a night out drinking in September 2002.
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