Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was yesterday sentenced to five years prison by an Indian court for killing endangered wildlife nearly two decades ago.
Khan, who denied poaching the rare antelopes known as black bucks in 1998, can still appeal his conviction for a crime that has gripped celebrity-obsessed India for decades
“The court has given a five-year jail term and fined Salman Khan 10,000 rupees [US$150],” prosecution lawyer Mahipal Bishnoi told reporters outside the court in the Rajasthan city of Jodhpur.
Hundreds of police were deployed outside the courtroom to keep back fans who massed to support the body-building actor best known for his macho roles.
Khan, one of the Indian movie industry’s most bankable stars, wore black sunglasses and a figure-hugging black shirt as he walked briskly from a white SUV to the courthouse flanked by security.
Four other Bollywood stars — Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam Kothari — were also accused of joining the hunting trip, but were acquitted for lack of evidence.
Khan, whose legion of fans emulate his distinct hairstyle and fashion, has accused the Rajasthan Forest Department of framing him over the black buck case.
His defense lawyers had suggested the black bucks died of natural causes, such as overeating, and claimed there was no evidence they had been shot.
The 52-year-old has been dogged by multiple charges since undertaking the infamous hunting safari in protected forest land while shooting a film in Rajasthan.
The Bishnois, a Rajasthani tribe seen as custodians of the region’s wildlife, filed a complaint against the actors.
Khan spent a week in prison in 1998, when first accused of using unlicensed arms to shoot the black buck.
Last year, he was cleared by a court over the alleged use of unlicensed guns on the expedition.
A higher court is challenging Khan’s acquittal.
The actor was also found guilty of killing gazelles on the hunting trip and served a very brief stint in jail in 2006, but was later acquitted on appeal.
Controversy has followed the Bollywood bad boy since he burst onto the silver screen in the 1980s.
He was cleared in 2015 of killing a homeless man in a hit-and-run accident. That decision is now being challenged in the Indian Supreme Court.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big