Salman Khan acquitted in Arms Act case by Jodhpur court, but his legal troubles are far from over
Salman Khan can heave a sigh of relief for now since he stands acquitted in the Arms Act case, as per the verdict of Jodhpur court on 18 January 2017.
However, the relief is only momentary as legal troubles are far from over. Out of the six cases against Khan, he has been acquitted in only four, while the verdicts of the other two remain pending.
Out of the six cases, four are associated with the black buck and chinkara poaching incidents. While the actor was shooting for Sooraj Barajataya's family drama Hum Saath Saath Hain near Jodhpur, he allegedly indulged in poaching of these endangered species on three separate occasions.
On the night of 27 September 1998, he allegedly shot a gazelle in a forest near Bhawad village in Rajasthan. He allegedly indulged in a similar incident the next night at Ghoda Farm House when he shot two gazelles.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate convicted him in the two cases on 17 February and 10 April, 2006 and awarded a jail sentence of one year and five years respectively. However, the Rajasthan High Court cleared him of both the charges last year. The Rajasthan government appealed against this verdict in the Supreme Court which consequently issued a notice to the actor in the most recent development in the two cases.
The third case against Khan is a result of his alleged act of poaching two black bucks in Kankani village on the night of 1 October, 1998. He was allegedly accompanied by co-stars Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre in his Maruti gypsy. As per the most recent development of this case, all the five actors have been summoned by the Jodhpur court so that the judiciary can report their respective statements. All of them have been booked under relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act.
On the same night, Salman was accused of using a gun with expired license. Consequently, he was booked under the Arms Act case in which he was acquitted by the Jodhpur court on 18 January, 2017, on the grounds of lack of evidence or benefit of doubt. The prosecutor is uncertain whether he will appeal against the verdict or not.
Besides the four cases associated with the black buck episode, he was also booked in the infamous hit-and-run case in Mumbai. He had allegedly rammed his car over four people sleeping on the footpath near the American Express Bakery on the night of 28 September, 2002. He was booked with the charge of 'culpable homicide not amounting to murder' under Section 304(2) of the Indian Penal Code.
He was also booked for a number of other charges, including over speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and damage to property, under other sections of the same act or sections of other acts like the Motor Vehicle Act. Bombay High Court acquitted him of all charges two years ago, leading to an appeal filed in the Supreme Court by the Maharashtra government.
The lesser known (and sixth) case against Khan is the one on the charges of criminal intimidation and robbery. Ravindra Moorat Dwivedi, a member of Brashtachaar Nirmoolan Samiti, sued the actor for assaulting him on a Mumbai-Delhi flight on 4 November, 2014. He alleged that the actor snatched government documents, related to the demise of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) leader Gopinath Munde. He alleged that he was assaulted by Khan and his bodyguard.
Thus, if you do the math, it is easy to come to a conclusion that legal troubles will keep looming large on Salman's head for a good period of time ahead.
The verdicts in two of his cases are pending, and the Supreme Court has accepted appeals against his acquittal in three other cases. So his hassles and run-ins with the judiciary are far from over.
While these repeated court appearances add to the publicity of the actor, it also keeps his prospective filmmakers hanging in the balance as several of their creative and financial decisions depend on Khan's immediate as well as eventual fate. For example, had the actor been convicted in the Arms Act case on 18 January, it would have halted filmmaker Kabir Khan's shooting of the period war drama Tubelight in which Khan plays the lead role. Kabir would have to then resort to the actor's paroles to complete the shooting in a situation similar to how Sanjay Dutt completed the dubbing of Rajkumar Hirani's science fiction satire PK in 2014.
Also, Salman's conviction could have also put a question mark on Ali Abbas Zafar's action entertainer Tiger Zinda Hai. Since it is a sequel to Salman's 2012 film Ek Tha Tiger, it is rather cumbersome to replace the actor.
Similarly, other projects like Remo D'Souza's dream project, a dance drama starring Salman, could have also been shelved. Since Salman brings in the largest amount of moolah into the Hindi film industry through his blockbuster films, his conviction could have given the industry a smashing blow.
All the 11 films, in which he played the lead role in the last six years, have managed to cross the coveted Rs 100 crore mark. Needless to say, his conviction would also affect his brand endorsements, television shows and philanthropy endeavours.
Being the most commercially bankable star has also put him in a pedestal where he is under constant scrutiny for his words, actions, company or even gestures.
The fact is that Salman is one of the biggest megastars of Bollywood today. The media will never ban him and he has his half a dozen cases to thank for this.
Updated Date: Jan 18, 2017 16:08 PM