The Rajasthan High Court on Monday issued notices to film stars Saif Ali Khan, Neelam Kothari, Sonali Bendre and Tabbu on an appeal by the State government, challenging their acquittal by a trial court in a case of hunting of two blackbucks in 1998. Justice Manoj Garg issued the notice also to a local resident, Dushyant Singh, acquitted along with the film stars last year.
Bollywood actor Salman Khan is the sole accused who was convicted in the case of hunting two black bucks in Kankani village near Jodhpur in October 1998.
The trial court had sentenced him to five years in jail on April 5 last year, while acquitting the five other co-accused. Salman is presently out on bail.
The High Court issued notices, condoning the delay by the State government in filing the appeal, said Public Prosecutor Mahipal Bishnoi.
The court has asked the five to file their replies to the court within eight weeks.
After the five files their replies, the State’s appeal would be sent back to the session court for further hearing as the first appeal to a magisterial court judgement lies in the sessions court, explained Mr. Bishnoi.
The State had approached the High Court after the sessions court had taken objections to the late filing of the appeal by the State government, he said.
Salman Khan has already challenged his conviction before the sessions court, which is presently hearing the defence arguments in his appeal.