Actor Salman Khan should be ordered to surrender immediately so he can return to jail in two poaching cases, the Rajasthan government has told the Supreme Court.
In July, the Rajasthan High Court found Mr Khan not guilty killing an endangered species of gazelle or chinkara in two separate incidents in 1998 while he was shooting a film in the desert state.
The state government has today challenged his acquittal and wants him to be imprisoned to serve the rest of his sentence- after being convicted in 2007 for hunting down and killing the chinkaras, he was awarded a one-year prison term and a five-year prison term respectively. He then spent a week in jail in Jodhpur before being granted bail.
While finding him not guilty, the High Court said there was no evidence to prove that the animals who were found dead were shot by Mr Khan’s licensed gun. A key witnesses, the driver of the jeep that was used by Salman Khan and his co-stars for their alleged hunt was missing, the prosecution admitted, which considerably weakened the case against the actor. But just days later, tracked down the driver, Harish Dulani, who said that he saw Mr Khan shoot the chinkara, but had dodged testifying in court because he had been threatened.
A written statement submitted by him earlier should be accepted, the Rajasthan government said to the top court today. Mr Khan’s lawyers have argued that because the witness never appeared in court, they did not get the opportunity to cross-examine him.
Mr Khan is also accused of killing a protected species of blackbuck antelope in October 2, 1998. The trial in that case is being heard separately.