Salman Khan, one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, has been embroiled in several legal controversies over the years. One of the most notable cases is the Blackbuck hunting case, which began in 1998 and is still ongoing. The case took a dramatic turn when gangster Lawrence Bishnoi threatened to kill Salman Khan, making headlines across the country. Here is a timeline of events leading up to the threat and the subsequent fallout.
1998: Salman Khan and his co-stars go hunting
In October 1998, Salman Khan was shooting for the film “Hum Saath Saath Hain” in Rajasthan. Along with co-stars Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam Kothari, he went on a hunting trip in the nearby forests. During the excursion, they allegedly shot two blackbucks, a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act. A complaint was filed against the actors by the local Bishnoi community, who revere the blackbuck and consider it sacred.
1999: Charges are filed
The chargesheet against Salman Khan and his co-accused was filed in April 1999. Salman Khan was charged under Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, which carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison. The other actors were charged under Section 52, which carries a maximum sentence of three years. Salman Khan was also charged under the Arms Act for allegedly possessing unlicensed weapons during the hunting trip.
2006: Salman Khan is acquitted
In 2006, Salman Khan was acquitted of all charges by the Rajasthan High Court. The court found that there was not enough evidence to prove that Salman Khan had shot the blackbucks. However, the court did convict Salman Khan under the Arms Act and sentenced him to five years in prison. He was later released on bail.
2012: Rajasthan government appeals against Salman Khan’s acquittal
The Rajasthan government filed an appeal against Salman Khan’s acquittal in the blackbuck hunting case. The government argued that the lower court had erred in its judgment and that there was sufficient evidence to prove that Salman Khan had indeed shot the blackbucks.
2013: Salman Khan is acquitted again
In July 2013, the Rajasthan High Court upheld Salman Khan’s acquittal in the blackbuck hunting case. The court stated that there was not enough evidence to prove that Salman Khan had shot the blackbucks and that the prosecution’s case was based on circumstantial evidence.
2018: Salman Khan is convicted
In April 2018, Salman Khan was convicted by a Jodhpur court under Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act and sentenced to five years in prison. The other actors were acquitted. Salman Khan was granted bail and released from prison after spending two nights there.
The Threat of Lawrence Bishnoi
During one of the court hearings in the blackbuck hunting case, Lawrence Bishnoi, a notorious gangster from Rajasthan, issued a death threat against Salman Khan. Bishnoi belongs to the Bishnoi community, which reveres the blackbuck and considers it sacred. Bishnoi warned that if Salman Khan was released on bail, he would kill him. The threat caused a nationwide sensation, and security was beefed up around Salman Khan.
Bishnoi was already facing several charges, including murder and extortion. He was known for his involvement in the smuggling of blackbucks and other animals. The Rajasthan police took the threat seriously and provided extra security to Salman Khan. Bishnoi was eventually arrested in December 2018 for the murder of a businessman and is currently in jail.
The threat from Bishnoi was not taken lightly by Salman Khan and his family. In fact, it led to a significant change in the actor’s lifestyle. Salman Khan started travelling with additional security and even stopped attending certain events and functions where he thought his safety might be compromised. The threat from Bishnoi also led to concerns about the safety of Salman Khan’s family members, especially his father, Salim Khan, who is a well-known writer and film producer.
The case continues to make headlines in the Indian media, with Salman Khan’s lawyers filing appeals against his conviction. In July 2019, Salman Khan’s plea for permission to travel abroad was granted by the court. He was allowed to travel to the United States, Canada, and Nepal for professional commitments. In December 2019, the Jodhpur High Court dismissed a petition filed by the Bishnoi community challenging Salman Khan’s acquittal in the blackbuck hunting case. The court observed that there was no evidence to suggest that the blackbucks were shot by Salman Khan.
The Salman Khan Blackbuck hunting case has been a long and contentious legal battle. While Salman Khan has been acquitted twice in the case, his conviction in 2018 was a significant setback. The case also brought to light the threats faced by celebrities in India from gangsters and other criminal elements. The threat from Lawrence Bishnoi was a stark reminder of the dangers faced by public figures and their families in India. The case is a cautionary tale for all those who seek fame and fortune in the entertainment industry, reminding them that with fame comes responsibility, and that the law must be respected at all times.