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Blackbuck Case: How DNA Identification, Eyewitness Account Sealed Salman Khan's Fate

Jodhpur (Rural) Court judge Dev Kumar Khatri dismissed most of the defence arguments thereby convicting the Bollywood actor with an imprisonment of five years and a fine of Rs 10,000.

Debayan Roy |

Updated:April 5, 2018, 11:26 PM IST
Blackbuck Case: How DNA Identification, Eyewitness Account Sealed Salman Khan's Fate
Bollywood star Salman Khan at the Jodhpur court for the verdict on blackbuck case on Thursday. (AP Photo/Sunil Verma)
New Delhi: If there is one thing that Jodhpur (Rural) Court judge Dev Kumar Khatri relied on the most in his 200-page verdict convicting Salman Khan, it was primarily eyewitness Poonam Chand’s statement.

Khatri dismissed most of the defence arguments, sentencing the Bollywood actor to a five-year jail term and a fine of Rs 10,000.

Firstly, the court ruled that the blackbucks did not die of natural causes and that it was the second post-mortem report which revealed that both the blackbucks had suffered gunshot injuries.

The court took note of the report submitted by three doctors, who were part of the medical board that performed the second round of post mortem. Dr Ganpati Singh, Dr ML Vikram and Dr BR J Mathur had submitted in the court that the cause of death of the two blackbucks were gunshot injuries.

Next, the court took note of the DNA test conducted which has confirmed that it was indeed two different blackbucks that were killed that night of October 1998.

According to the report submitted by Dr GV Rao of the CDFD Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad, the DNA sample of the two femur bones collected from the site of the accident was established to belong to two different blackbucks.

From the site of the killing, not only were the two bodies of blackbucks recovered, but also, blood-soaked mud and stones were recovered. The verdict notes that according to the FSL report, the blood from the mud and the stone has matched with that of the black bucks.

The other contention of the defence counsel was that eyewitness Poonam Chand was staying at a distance of over 2 km from the hunting site and that it was not possible for him to hear the sound of the gypsy driven by Salman, let alone witness the killing.

However, the judge set aside this contention stating that the eyewitness had himself said that the grave of the black buck was made at a distance of half a kilometre from his house and the other witness, Bhavarlal Vanpal, from the defence also agreed that Chand’s assertion.

The judge acquitted Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam, Sonali Bendre and Dushyant Singh as the eyewitness could not corroborate his charges with his statement or could neither identify any of them correctly. The judge noted that the eyewitness could only speak clearly about Salman and that he fired and killed the two black bucks.

Khatri noted that Salman, being a film star, was a role model for many and his actions could be followed, hence he deserved the punishment. He also stated that the defence has not submitted any solid evidence and that the prosecution was able to establish the case beyond reasonable doubt.

The court also noted that although Salman has been acquitted by the Rajasthan High Court of charges, still the cases were pending in the Supreme Court hence the acquittal itself cannot serve as a reason for his non-conviction.

Currently, Salman is lodged in Jodhpur Central Prison but tomorrow his bail application would be heard by the Sessions court at 10.30 am. Alternately, Khan is also expected to file an appeal against this order in the Rajasthan High Court.
| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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