Jodhpur: Bollywood actor Salman Khan was granted bail in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case by a Jodhpur court on Saturday on a surety of Rs.50,000. Salman was sentenced to five years of imprisonment on Thursday for killing two endangered blackbucks while shooting for his film Hum Saath Saath Hain in Jodhpur.

Judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi had begun hearing Salman’s bail plea on Saturday morning at a Jodhpur sessions court in Rajasthan and announced his decision after the lunch-break. The Defence lawyers have argued that the witness is unreliable as she lives two kilometers away from where the blackbucks were killed. They are claiming that it is not possible for anyone to reach the spot 2 km away just a moment after hearing the gunshots while the prosecutors asserted in court that Salman should not be given the bail.

The blackbuck in an endangered species and is protected under the schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, which attracts minimum 3 years in jail. Salman was accused of shooting dead two blackbucks while on a late night hunting visit to the forests of Kankani village along with his co-stars Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam. All his co-actors were acquitted in the 20-year-old case. This is Salman’s fourth stint in jail and had to go to prison before in 1998, 2006 and 2007 too. This time, he spent two nights in the Jodhpur Central Jail and was treated like a common prisoner with no special treatments except allowed to have a change of clothes which his bodyguard would bring in.