JODHPUR, April 5 - A Jodhpur court today sentenced Bollywood superstar Salman Khan to five years in prison and sent him to the Jodhpur Central Jail for killing two blackbucks in October 1998.
The court acquitted his colleagues Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre and a local, Dushyant Singh, giving them the �benefit of doubt�, a prosecution lawyer said.
Stargazers, media crews and security personnel swarmed the court premises and lined up along the two kilometre route from the court as the 52-year-old was whisked away in a Bolero police jeep to spend a night in jail.
This is his fourth stint in the Jodhpur Central Jail, which also houses religious preacher Asaram Bapu, who has been accused of rape.
Jail sources said Salman, arguably India�s most successful actor, was lodged in barrack number 2.
Salman has earlier spent a total of 18 days in the jail in 1998, 2006 and 2007, all for cases of poaching.
Today, the court sentenced him to five years in jail and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000, prosecution lawyer Mahipal Bishnoi said.
Held guilty under Section 9/51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, he had faced a maximum punishment of six years behind bars.
The actor shot and killed the blackbucks, from the antelope family, in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the night of October 1, 1998 during the shooting of the film Hum Saath Saath Hain.
Blackbuck is an endangered animal and included in the schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act-1972.
All the actors were in a Gypsy that night with Salman in the driving seat. He spotted a herd of blackbucks and killed two of them, the lawyer said.
All the accused, some of them accompanied by their family members, were in the courtroom when the verdict was read out.
The case was under the national spotlight today with the media monitoring every development, his legion of fans tuned into social media and television and trade analysts watching anxiously to know the fate of the star who has an estimated Rs 600 riding on his next ventures � Race 3, Bharat and Dabangg 3.
�All his films make a minimum of Rs 200 crore. There are three films already announced. Race 3 is the biggest Eid release. So, approximately Rs 600 crore...,� trade analyst Girish Wankhede told PTI.
Salman also had a jail stint in Mumbai when he was also involved in a hit and run. His white Toyota Land Cruiser allegedly crashed into American Express Bakery at Hill Road at Bandra in Mumbai, killing one person and injuring four on September 28, 2002.
He was acquitted in the case but the Maharashtra government has filed an appeal. � PTI