A Jodhpur trial court on Thursday convicted actor Salman Khan, while acquitting the other accused in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case.

Jodhpur district presiding officer Devkumar Khatri pronounced the judgment while holding off on awarding the quantum of punishment for Salman right away.  The case dates back to the night of 2 October 1998, when Salman allegedly shot and killed two blackbucks.

Co-accused and Bollywood actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu were present in court during the pronouncement of the verdict. 

There are two other accused in the case, travel agent Dushyant Singh and Salman's assistant at the time, Dinesh Gawre. Gawre is still absconding. 

"Argument on quantum of punishment is on. Salman Khan's counsels are praying for probation," NS Solanki, a co-accused's lawyer, told ANI.

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All actors were accused of hunting down two blackbucks in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the intervening night of October 1 and 2, 1998. They were in the city for the shoot of the film Hum Saath Saath Hain, which was released in 1999.

Earlier, Salman pleaded innocence in the case, claiming that the blackbuck died of natural causes and he was framed.

Salman is facing charges under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and the other actors have been charged under Section 51 read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code. Maximum punishment under Section 51 is six years. 


(Inputs from PTI)