As Sisters Sat Crying, Salman Khan Repeated ‘I’m Innocent’
Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was pronounced guilty in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case by a Jodhpur court on Thursday. Here’s the low-down of now qaidi (inmate) 106:
As scores of people gathered both in support and against of Salman Khan outside the Chief Magistrate Court Jodhpur today, waiting to get his glimpse, the actor whizzed past in his car without waving at anyone.
The route from Salman Khan’s hotel to the court was cleared and a bevy of security personnel kept the fans and any untoward incident at bay.
Inside the courtroom, sat Salman Khan’s sisters Alvira and Arpita Khan, who had left for the court much earlier than Khan.
All co-accused actors- Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu were also in attendance, waiting for their fate to be pronounced along with Salman Khan.
When the magistrate announced the final verdict, acquitting all but Salman Khan- there was no sign of jubilation in the courtroom.
Salman’s lawyers immediately appealed the judge to mitigate his sentence on grounds of his humanitarian work- but the verdict had been read.
Soon after the magistrate retreated to his chambers to prepare the quantum punishment and in the meantime Khan’s counsel of lawyers prepared their appeal. All of Salman Khan’s friends left the courtroom but his sisters stayed back.
The magistrate returned nearly two hours later and sentenced Salman Khan to five years imprisonment.
With the quantum punishment being announced, a pall of gloom befell the courtroom- with Salman’s sisters Arpita and Alvira breaking down the very instant.
As they sat their crying, Salman Khan did not lose his calm and reiterated that he was innocent.
In a statement released by Salman Khan’s lawyer Anand Desai later in the day, the verdict and the quantum punishment came as an unexpected blow to all.
He was soon whisked away by policemen and taken to the Jodhpur Central Jail- where he was first medically examined and then shifted to ward number 2.
According to DIG Jodhpur (Jail) Vikram Singh, Salman Khan made no special demands and cooperated with the prison authorities.
Meanwhile, Salman Khan’s bail plea has been moved before the Jodhpur Sessions Court and is slated for hearing at 10:30 am on April 6.