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Blackbuck case: Salman Khan may get bail today

The Jodhpur Sessions Court will on Friday hear the bail plea of Bollywood actor Salman Khan in connection with the 1998 blackbuck poaching case.

Pronouncing the verdict in the 20-year-old case, another court in Jodhpur had on Thursday convicted the actor and sentenced him to five years in jail. The other co-accused in the case -- Tabu, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam -- meanwhile, were cleared of all charges. Additonally, a penalty of Rs 10,000 was also imposed on Khan.

The actor is accused of killing two blackbucks in the Kankani village near Jodhpur in 1998 during the shooting of the film Hum Saath Saath Hain.

He was charged under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and others under Section 51 read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code. With this, Salman Khan's ongoing projects face an uncertain future.

He is slated to star in four major films over the next two years ? Race 3, Dabangg 3, Kick 2 and Bharat. While the last three are in pre-production stages, Race 3 is in production in the UAE.

Trade analysts said the Rs 4-5 billion riding on these films might be affected by his sentencing.

Amid tight security, Salman was taken to the Jodhpur Central Jail where he spent the night in barrack number one. The prison also houses rape-accused Asaram Bapu, Bhanwari Devi murder accused Malkhan Singh Vishnoi, and Shambhu Lal Regar, arrested for killing a Muslim and blatantly filming the act.

Salman Khan had to spend the night in Jodhpur Central jail after being held guilty in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case on Thursday, but Friday might be a better day for him. His lawyer Hastimal Saraswat is ready with a 51-page bail application, where 54 grounds have been raised for the judge to consider and grant the convicted actor bail.

Speaking to a news channel, he said: "If it was not Salman Khan, bail would have been granted the next day."