Indian court grants bail to Bollywood superstar Salman Khan

Salman Khan gets bail in black buck poaching case

Indian court grants bail to Bollywood superstar Salman Khan

The actor's defense received a startling news when reports revealed that justice Joshi, who was hearing the bail plea, was among the 87 district judges who were transferred by the registrar of judicial courts on Friday.

Defence counsel Hastimal Saraswat said the court had accepted the grounds on which Salman's lawyers had argued.

The 52-year-old actor was Thursday convicted by a trial court of killing the two blackbucks - a protected species - near a remote village in Rajasthan's city of Jodhpur late on October 1 night in 1998 while shooting a movie.

The case has been closely followed by fans and supporters, hundreds of whom celebrated the bail decision by cheering and setting off firecrackers outside the court Saturday in the Rajasthan city of Jodhpur. It is customary for judges to be given seven days for the transition. A year later, the Jodhpur court acquitted him in the Arms Case, where he was accused of possessing and using weapons with an expired licence during the hunt for the endangered chinkaras and blackbucks. Earlier around noon, the court had said it would pronounce the order after lunch.

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Khan, one of the biggest celebrities in the Indian movie industry, has been sentenced to five-year imprisonment under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act. He has been released from Jodhpur Central Jail today.

Salman, who was imprisoned for five years, spent two nights in the prison. A higher court later tossed the conviction, saying the evidence presented was not sufficient. The Bishnoi community, who are known for their environmental activism was enraged by this incident and filed a case against the actors. Charges against the actor under the Arms Act for possession of an unlicensed gun were dropped.

He said the witnesses' statement should not be trusted in the case as they raise a benefit of doubt and questioned why only Salman had been convicted out of all co-accused.

Khan was also found guilty of killing gazelles on the same trip and served very brief stints in jail in 2006 and 2007, but was later acquitted on appeal.

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