JODHPUR: A court in Rajasthan has allowed more witnesses and documents to be presented in an Arms Act case against actor Salman Khan.
With the court giving March 10 as the next hearing date, the verdict in this case could now be delayed further.
Last month, the Jodhpur court had deferred its verdict on whether actor Salman Khan is guilty in the 16-year-old case linked to the poaching of endangered blackbucks and chinkara deer during a film shoot. The verdict was delayed after the prosecution, in a dramatic twist, brought up an appeal that had been pending before the court for nine years.
The prosecution lawyer, representing the state, told the court that four applications were moved in 2006 to introduce witnesses but the court never decided on them.
Salman Khan was charged with poaching three chinkaras and a blackbuck near Jodhpur in September and early October 1998, while shooting for the film Hum Saath Saath Hain.
The forest department also registered a case with the local police under the Arms Act, alleging that the licenses of the weapons the actor used had expired when he went hunting and so he used them illegally.
Salman Khan’s lawyers have argued that he had applied for a renewal of licence for the weapons almost as soon as it expired and so was not in illegal possession of the weapons. Salman has denied all charges of poaching and illegal possession of weapons.
If found guilty, Salman could be sentenced to between three to seven years in jail, but could be out on bail almost immediately.
Salman also has three poaching cases against him; he has already twice spent time in the Jodhpur jail – in April 2006 and again in August 2007 – and his appeal in both cases is pending in the Rajasthan High Court.
Another case against him of poaching a black buck near Kankani in Jodhpur is still under trial. In this case other actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre are charged with inciting Salman to hunt.