Actor Salman Khan has been ordered to by a Jodhpur court to re-appear before it on March 10 to record his statement in the Arms Act case against him connected to the poaching of two chinkara deer and blackbuck.
In his statement in the court, Salman said he had no arms with him in Jodhpur and they were in Mumbai. "I had called for those arms from Mumbai to Jodhpur only after the Forest Department asked me," he said. The actor also told the court that he had not indulged in poaching and that the investigation officer and forest officer had fabricated a case against him.
Salman had appealed that his arms act deposition should be clubbed with the blackbuck case which is still under trial, but the court ruled against it. Salman Khan was summoned by the Chief Judicial Magistrate after being exempted from appearing in court till now.
Salman Khan along with his ‘Hum Saath Saath Hai’ co-stars Saif Ali Khan, Neelam, Tabu and Sonali Bendre were charged with Wildlife Protection Act after they were accused of poaching and killing two black bucks during the shooting of their movie ‘Hum Saath Saath Hai’ in Rajasthan in 1998.
He has already twice spent time in the Jodhpur jail in connection to the case, in 1998 and again in 2007 and has been handed sentences of two and five years, appeals against which are pending in the High court.
Fresh charges in the poaching case were framed against Mr. Khan in March last year after first the Rajasthan High Court and then the Supreme Court ruled that Section 148 of the Arms Act, or rioting with deadly weapons, could not be applied to him.
Mr. Khan's rifle and revolver were seized by the court when he was first accused of poaching and their licenses were found to have expired.
Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu have been accused and charged with inciting the actor to hunt.
In November last year, the Rajasthan High Court ordered that Salman Khan's poaching conviction be suspended for visa purposes to make it easier for the actor, who had been denied an UK visa to shoot his film Kick, to travel abroad.