After a legal battle that lasted almost 20 years, a prominent Bollywood actor once seen by many as above the law was convicted of poaching two endangered blackbuck antelopes and sentenced to five years in prison.
Khan pleaded not guilty and has long maintained his innocence as the case has languished in legal limbo over the years. Held guilty under Section 9/51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, he had faced a maximum punishment of six years behind bars.
Salman will be taken to Jodhpur Central Jail, with a bail hearing set for Friday.
His films include Biwi Ho To Aisi, Hum Aapke Hain Koun...!, Biki No.1, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dabangg, Ready and Bodyguard. Khan can still appeal today's conviction in a higher court.
Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri reportedly described the star as an "habitual offender" as he was sentenced. He is also to pay 10,000 rupees ($154) for the crime. Fellow Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, at number 8 on the list, is the only Indian actor to have earned more than him past year.
A Jodhpur court has convicted actor Salman Khan and acquitted four other accused in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case, ANI reported. The actor spent a week in a prison in Jodhpur before he was granted bail.
The actor known as "bhai", meaning "brother" in Hindi, enjoys a cult-like status with the majority of his devotees' young men who envy Khan for being unmarried at 52. Salman was at the wheel when he spotted a herd of blackbucks, the Indian antelope, and shot and killed two of them, the prosecution said. "But on being spotted [by locals] and chased, they fled, leaving the dead animals there", he said. Hence such an investigation could not be be trusted, Saraswat had argued.
The blackbuck, also known as the Indian antelope, is a species native to the South Asian subcontinent.
Born 27 December 1965 in Indore, India, Salman Khan is an Indian actor, producer, singer and TV star.
The son of Indian screenwriter Salim Khan, Salman Khan made his movie debut in 1988, and his career took off shortly after.