Salman Khan thanks fans for support after being acquitted in Arms Act case

Bollywood star Salman Khan today profusely thanked his fans after he was acquitted in the Arms Act+ case filed against him nine years ago, when he’s alleged to have poached black buck.

“Thank you for all the support and good wishes,” Salman tweeted.

A case against the film star+ was registered in October 1998 under the Arms Act for his alleged use and possession of arms with an expired license during the alleged poaching of two black bucks in Kankani village.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Dalpat Singh Rajpuroti today acquitted the 51-year-old star, who was present in the Jodhpur courtroom with his sister Alvira. He’d arrived in the city yesterday.

In being acquitted, Salman avoided being imprisoned for as long as seven years, which is the maximum punishment one of the Sections of the Act he was charged under carries.

Salman’s 0.22 rifle and 0.32 revolver had expired licenses and cases were filed under Sections 3/25 and 3/27. The maximum sentence in Section 3/25 is usually three years while Section 3/27 has seven years as the maximum sentence.

The case under the Arms Act is one of four cases against the actor. While the Rajasthan High Court has acquitted him in two cases of poaching of chinkara, a trial in the third case of alleged poaching of two black bucks is still under trial.

Hailing today’s decision, Salman’s defense counsel H M Saraswat said “the court admitted our arguments that Khan was framed in this case as he had no concrete evidence against him.”

On the other hand, the prosecution counsel BS Bhati said they would appeal against the acquittal in the sessions court.

According to the prosecution counsel Bhawani Singh Bhati, the arguments in the case were completed on January 9 in the trial court and the order had been reserved by the magistrate to be pronounced today.

In 1998, Salman was in Jodhpur for the shooting of a Hindi film, ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain.” Other Bollywood actors, including Saif Ali Khan and Sonali Bendre, are also accused of poaching black bucks with Salman.

Salman has been asked to appear before the court on January 25 – along with actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu – to record statements in the separate case filed against him under the Wildlife Protection Act, after the same incident.

In the separate black buck poaching case, Salman was initially convicted and sentenced in 2006. A year later, the Rajasthan High Court suspended the actor’s sentence on the condition he wouldn’t leave the country without the court’s permission.

In 2013, the High Court altered its condition about travelling abroad, and stayed the conviction after Salman said he wouldn’t be able to obtain a UK visa because of it. And in January 2016, the Supreme Court set aside the High Court’s stay on Khan’s conviction, to consider Khan’s plea afresh.

In July last year, Salman was acquitted in two other cases – of poaching ‘chinkara’- after he appealed against the lower court’s verdict that had sentenced him to one and five years’ imprisonment, respectively. However, the Rajasthan government challenged Salman’s acquittal in the Supreme Court, which then asked the cases be ‘expedited’.

In the three poaching cases registered against him, Salman has twice served time in the Jodhpur jail – in April 2006 and in August 2007.

In December 2015, the Bombay High Court acquitted Salman of all criminal charges in a hit-and-run case, just months after he’d been found guilty by a trial court.

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