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Salman’s blackbuck poaching & Arms Act cases near completion

Trial in two more cases against actor Salman Khan is near completion and hearings are scheduled in August. The actor is accused of killing two blackbucks in Kankani village on the intervening night of October 1 and 2, 1998 and for allegedly possessing arms with an expired licence.

H M Saraswat, counsel for Khan, said while the examination of the 28 witnesses is over in the Kankani case, re-examination of a prosecution witness -then district magistrate Rajat Kumar Mishra -is scheduled on August 3. The case under the Arms Act had reached the stage of verdict on February 25, 2015, but the order was withheld after a sudden emergence of an undecided prosecution application, which was moved in 2006.Subsequently, the defence moved fresh an application for re-examination of the same prosecution witnesses, citing changed circumstances due to the prosecution’s application. Similarly, in the Kankani case, the defence has sought to check the video recording of the statements given by then forest officer Lalit Bora, citing some contradictions in the written format.”Before going ahead, we want to prove that Khan has been framed in this case purposely. The video recording examination would be an important step,” said Saraswat. One of the counsels for the prosecution, Mahipal Bishnoi, said that, of the 51 witnesses in the case, 28 have been examined. Only two three witnesses are yet to be examined. “Of the remaining, some have either passed away or are sick while the rest have been dropped considering there worthlessness in the case”, said Bishnoi, while adding that it could take another three to four months for the verdict in the two cases.Meanwhile, activists reacted to Monday’s verdict, saying it would lead to a spurt in poaching incidents. Wildlife activist Rupesh Kant Vyas said, “If the government doesn’t appeal against the acquittal, it would mean it is hand-in-glove with the superstar and made the case against him weak intentionally.”