The Supreme Court on Friday admitted the appeal filed by Rajasthan govt challenging the acquittal of Bollywood actor Salman Khan in a case of Chinkara poaching in Jodhpur.
A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi also said the matter will be given an expeditious hearing. The bench issued notice and sort response of the actor. The Rajasthan government had last month moved the plea against Salman's acquittal by High Court on the ground that the judgment suffered from 'legal infirmities'.
The state government sought stay of Rajasthan HC judgement by which the 50-year old actor's conviction and jail term of five years was set aside. The Rajasthan government has filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the apex court saying the High Court has erroneously exercised its revisional powers to set aside concurrent findings of lower court which convicted Salman for 5 years and the judgment suffers from legal infirmities.
'Salman's conviction was based on material evidence which High Court has turned down on hyper technical issues which is unsustainable,' Additional Advocate General Shiv Mangal Sharmahad said in a statement. The lawyer had said that minor discrepancies in trial should never dilute the entire prosecution case and High Court has failed to see the 'entire circumstances' which are proved beyond doubt against Salman by prosecution.
"The actor had ample opportunity to cross examine the eyewitness Harish Dulani, the driver of Gypsy and when he intentionally did not examine him the statement given by the witness should be accepted against Salman," the lawyer had said. The High Court on July 25 had acquitted the actor in two cases related to poaching of Chinkara in Jodhpur in 1998 while holding that the pellets recovered from the Chinkaras were not fired from Salman's licensed gun.
Two separate cases had been registered against Khan undersection 51 of Wildlife Protection Act for poaching of two chinkaras in village Bhawad on 26-27 September, 1998 and one chinkara in Mathania (Ghoda Farm) on 28-29 September, 1998. The trial court (CJM) had convicted him in both the cases sentencing him to one year and 5 year imprisonment on February17, 2006 and April 10, 2006 respectively.