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Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre given this date to explain delay in arrival for blackbuck case hearing 

The Rajasthan government has moved the Jodhpur High Court against the acquittal of Bollywood actors Saif Ali KhanTabuNeelam Kothari and Sonali Bendre Behl in blackbuck poaching case. While actor Salman Khanwas convicted in the case on April 5, 2018, others were acquitted by a Jodhpur trial court. 

On April 5 last year, CJM Devkumar Khatri had found Salman Khan guilty under Section 9/51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and was sentenced to five years in jail and was fined Rs. 10,000 in the case of blackbuck poaching. On April 7, the Bollywood actor was released from the Jodhpur jail after being granted bail on a bond of Rs 50,000 and two sureties of like amount by a District and Sessions court. He spent two nights in the Jodhpur Central Jail.

The hearing was held in a Jodhpur court, where he was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment after being found guilty of killing two blackbucks. It, however, looks like trouble has not ended for Saif, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali. The state government has now challenged the local court’s decision in the High Court.  

The High Court besides seeking clarification from the government why it appealed against the order after 90-day period lapsed, has also issued notices to the accused. The actors have time till February 28, 2019 to file their reply when the court will hear the matter next. 

The Government too has been asked to file a petition regarding their delay of over 53 days. There will be a separate hearing for the case which will be handled by Justice Pankaj Bhandari on the same day.

The blackbuck case began after Salman and others were accused of killing two blackbucks, a rare and sacred species in Bhagoda ki Dhani in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the intervening night of October 1-2, 1998. At the time, Salman, Saif, Tabu, Sonali and Neelam were shooting for their film Hum Saath Saath Hain.

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