Blackbuck poaching case: Jubilant fans, friends welcome Salman Khan in Mumbai after Jodhpur court grants actor bail

Fans and Bollywood celebrities rejoiced after actor Salman Khan on Saturday walked out of Jodhpur jail, where he spent two nights, following a sessions court order in Jodhpur which granted him bail in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case.

Salman was sentenced to five years in jail in the case on Thursday.

Immediately after his release at 5.35 pm on Saturday, 52-year-old Salman was driven under police escort to the Jodhpur airport from where he was flown to Mumbai in a chartered plane, a police official said.

Khan was allowed to leave the jail after the prison authorities received the bail documents, the official said. The actor's long-time bodyguard Shera accompanied him to the airport.

Hundreds of the actor's fans, who gathered outside the Jodhpur Central Jail, burst firecrackers and sang songs from his films as he walked out of the prison. The police had made tight security arrangements.

The fans, who were carrying garlanded posters of Salman, raised slogans like "Salman zindabad", "Salman tum sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hai (Salman, you continue your struggle, we are with you)". A few fans even chased the actor's cavalcade for some distance.

'Swag Se Karenge Salman Ka Swagat'

After landing at Santa Cruz airport in Mumbai, Salman was taken to his first-floor flat at Bandra's Galaxy Apartments where he reached at around 8 pm. His fans, who were there in front of his residence, burst crackers.

Bollywood actor Salman Khan (R) acknowledges his fans as he arrives at his house in Mumbai on Saturday. PTI

Bollywood actor Salman Khan acknowledges his fans as he arrives at his house in Mumbai on Saturday. PTI

The delirious fans burst firecrackers and danced to the chants of "Swag Se Karenge Salman Ka Swagat" as the 52-year-old actor reached his residence. Fans danced amidst chants of "Welcome Bhai" and "Salman, Salman" as he made his way into his residence.

Soon after he reached his first-floor flat, Salman appeared in the balcony with his long-time bodyguard, Shera, and waived at the jubilant fans. He folded his hands, made a sign of "three" with his fingers and made another gesture to the fans, which meant "go home and sleep now".

Salman was accompanied by his father Salim Khan, mother Salma Khan and nephew Ahil, whom he held in his arms. The Dabangg actor's former girlfriend and Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif also paid a visit to him at his residence.

Salman enjoys huge fan following and many of his had come from far off places, stayed put in Bandra for three days, promising to return to their native places only after catching a glimpse of the actor.

Farhana Ahmed, a middle-aged woman one of whose ailing family members had once received financial assistance from a foundation set up by the actor, could not hold back her tears of joy when the news about Salman's release from the jail, broke out.

Saeed Shaikh, a resident of Ajmer in Rajasthan, who had been camping outside the Galaxy Apartments for the last three days, distributed sweets among the people gathered there.

Actor released on bond of Rs 50,000

In his order, Jodhpur District and Sessions Judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi allowed Salman's application for suspension of sentence for a month against his conviction.

Salman, who was lodged in the Jodhpur jail after his sentencing on Thursday, was granted bail on a bond of Rs 50,000 and two sureties of Rs 25,000 each, defense counsel Mahesh Bora said.

The judge asked the actor to appear before the court after a month on 7 May when it will hear his plea for suspension of sentence. He also directed Salman not to leave the country without the court's permission.

Bishnoi community to move Rajasthan High Court

Meanwhile, the Bishnoi community, which reveres the blackbuck, has decided to move the Rajasthan High Court challenging the bail granted to Salman, according to Ram Niwas, the secretary of the Bishnoi Tiger Force.

Salman Khan after being granted bail. PTI

Salman Khan after being granted bail. PTI

In its 10-page bail order, the court said the trial judge acquitted his Bollywood colleagues Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre and a local, Dushyant Singh, giving them the "benefit of the doubt" for the incident.

It also cited the differences in the post-mortem reports of the blackbucks with the first saying there was no gunshot injury while second stating that the animals were killed by gunshots.

Judge Joshi said during the trial, Salman had never misused any condition. He also said he was earlier granted bail in the Mathania Ghoda Farm case in which he was given a five-years jail term for killing a blackbuck. The high court later acquitted him.

Similarly, he was acquitted by the trial court in 2017 in the Bhawad poaching case in which he was accused of killing two chinkara gazelles, the court said.

It said the high court had also raised suspicion over the recovery of a Gypsy car, pellets, and arms from the actor in the two other poaching cases against him. The judge also said the complaint of lone eyewitness Poonam Chand on 2 October, 1998, was submitted to the court by the forest department six days later on 8 October.

Earlier in the day, the judge heard the arguments of the prosecution and the defense which lasted about an hour and pronounced the order around 3 pm, a defense counsel said.

Salman's sisters — Alvira and Arpita — were present during the hearing, besides Shera.

The actor was convicted by a trial court and sentenced to five years in prison for killing two blackbucks during the shooting of Hum Saath Saath Hain in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the night of 1 October 1998.

Judge Joshi transferred to Sirohi

In a late night development on Friday, an order was issued to transfer Ravindra Kumar Joshi to Sirohi, as part of an annual reshuffle. He was among 134 judges transferred by the high court registrar general.

The judge had on Friday reserved his decision on Salman's bail plea till Saturday after hearing arguments on the suspension of sentence and the bail application. While defense counsel Bora had argued for Khan's bail in the court on Friday, public prosecutor Pokar Ram Bishnoi had opposed the plea.

This was Salman's fourth stint in the Jodhpur jail, which also houses religious preacher Asaram Bapu, who has been accused of rape. He has spent a total of 20 days in the prison in 1998, 2006, 2007 and now, all for cases of poaching.

After Salman was granted bail, his friends and well-wishers from the film industry also expressed their happiness over the decision.

Director of Salman's upcoming film Race 3 Remo D'Souza told PTI, "I am happy that he has got bail. After working with him so closely I have become a huge fan of him not only as an actor but also as a human being."

"Almost 90 percent of the shoot for Race 3 is over and the remaining portions will mostly be shot in India," he said.

Producer of Race 3 Ramesh Taurani said he is "happy" that the actor has come out of the jail.

Salman's Dabangg co-actor Sonu Sood tweeted, "A Good deed is the best Prayer. Welcome brother Salman Khan."

Singer Adnan Sami, who composed the music of Salman's Lucky: No Time for Love, said, "So happy for the bail of my dear brother Salman Khan. Relieved. Come home. Jai Ho!"

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Apr 08, 2018 10:56 AM

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