Photo: Vivek Sinha
According to the authorities, film actresses Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam and actor Saif Ali Khan were part of the shikar group, which was assisted by as many as five locals. There are three cases against Salman Khan. Two cases were lodged by the police and one by the Department of Forests. If Salman is convicted he could go to jail for six years. This is not the first time that the actor has been implicated in a poaching incident. On November 20, 1998, Dharmendrasinh Chavda, writing for the Indian Express, New Delhi, suggested that the Gujarat State Forest Department wanted to interrogate both Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai for their alleged involvement in a shooting incident in the East Division, Kutchh, where two chinkara had been poached. No evidence has yet been unearthed about this little known incident, but S.C. Shrivastav confirmed that letters had been written to the two on November 13, 1998 asking them to appear before the Forest Department.
It is very easy to kill blackbuck and chinkara. Killing them can be likened to shooting ducks in a gallery. So much for the macho ‘sport’ of shikar that Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan stand accused of having indulged in, ostensibly to impress the triumvirate of actresses, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre.
According to information sent to Sanctuary by the Wildlife Protection Society of India and Tiger Watch, the Gypsy used by Salman Khan and his friends to hunt blackbuck has not yet been released by the court. The owner of the vehicle, Arun Yadav, claims he is being put to financial hardship because it has been confiscated. However, Section 39 (d) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 clearly lays down that vehicles, firearms and other such equipment used for committing an offence become government property and cannot be released. Salman Khan’s gun and camera have been similarly impounded. It would appear that forensic and ballistic reports have recently been received by the authorities that support the prosecution. The noose is thus tightening slowly but surely around the...