A sessions court on Saturday granted bail to Salman Khan in connection with the blackbuck poaching case in which the Bollywood actor was convicted by a lower court on Thursday and sentenced to five-year imprisonment.
The 52-year-old actor can now walk out by evening after completion of legal formalities which includes furnishing a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh.
Scenes of jubilation amid Salman Khan’s fans were witnessed outside the court in Jodhpur. They chanted the actor’s name and claimed that they were praying for his release.
The bail hearing concluded on Friday following which district and sessions court judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi reserved his verdict.
The decision on plea for bail follows the Bollywood actors’ conviction in the blackbuck poaching case by a lower court on Thursday which sentenced him to five-year imprisonment.
The actor has already spent two nights as Qaidi No. 106 following his conviction.
Khan was convicted for killing two blackbucks on 2 October 1998 at Kankani village near Jodhpur. He was also fined an amount of Rs 10,000.
Most of his family members, including sisters Arpita and Alvira, have been in Jodhpur since Wednesday to be with Khan.
Demanding maximum punishment in the case under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, the prosecution had argued that Khan was a repeat offender. The actor’s counsel pleaded in the chief judicial magistrate (Jodhpur Rural) court for minimum punishment citing his “social work”.
Khan was found guilty under Section 51 of the Act while he was in Jodhpur during the shooting of ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’. Saif Ali Khan, Neelam, Sonali Bendre and Tabu, who were the co-accused in the case, were acquitted.
The five Bollywood actors had reached Jodhpur on Wednesday night to attend the hearing on Thursday in the court of chief judicial magistrate (Jodhpur Rural), which put a closure, for the time being, on the case that was on for 20 years.
On 28 March, Judge Dev Kumar Khatri had reserved the order after the final arguments were heard.
The actor was earlier sentenced to five years in prison after he was convicted in 2006 in one of the two cases related to the killing of Chinkara deer. He had spent a week in jail before his sentence was suspended by the Rajasthan High Court.
The Rajasthan government has challenged his acquittal in the Chinkara deer case in the Supreme Court. Charges against the actor under the Arms Act for possession of an unlicensed gun were dropped.
For the past 20 years, the witnesses from the Bishnoi community – which reveres the blackbuck – had maintained that Salman killed the two blackbucks.