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Salman Khan's bail plea hearing today



Special Correspondent

Actor challenges lower court verdict and seeks suspension of sentence

JAIPUR: The Sessions Court in Jodhpur on Wednesday fixed the hearing on Thursday on a bail application moved by Bollywood star Salman Khan in the chinkara poaching case in which he has been awarded five years' rigorous imprisonment. The actor has also challenged the lower court verdict and sought suspension of the sentence.

Salman Khan, lodged in the Jodhpur Central Jail after being held guilty of killing a chinkara at Ghoda farmhouse near Mathania about eight years ago, will spend his third night behind bars expecting a reprieve in his appeal moved against the judgment handed down by the Chief Judicial Magistrate.

The lower court had on Monday also fined him Rs. 25,000 while convicting him under the Wildlife Protection Act.

District and Sessions Judge G.S. Mehta, agreeing to take up the bail plea, listed it for hearing on Thursday after Salman Khan's lawyers filed a 44-page application that included as many 38 grounds for challenging the CJM's verdict and praying for an early hearing of the bail plea. One of the grounds cited for early hearing was the reported sickness of Salman Khan's mother.

The lawyers, Hastimal Saraswat and S.R. Bajwa, attached a medical certificate from a hospital in Mumbai to the application to prove that Salman Khan's mother was ailing and the Bollywood actor had to attend her. The judge observed that these points had no relevance to the case but agreed to hear arguments on other grounds when the application comes up for hearing.

A copy of Salman Khan's application under Section 389 of the Criminal Procedure Code was handed over to the prosecution on the court's direction.

The actor has been lodged in the jail as an ordinary prisoner and was served normal food given to other inmates. According to the prison authorities, the routine medical check-up was done on him and he was in good health and was following the regular prison routine. Salman Khan's brother Sohail Khan and sister Alvira, who flew in from Mumbai, met him in the Central Jail on Tuesday even as a huge crowd of fans gathered outside the jail. The police resorted to a mild lathicharge to disperse the crowd when it became restive.

Offers prayers

PTI adds from Jodhpur: Languishing in Central Jail here Salman Khan on Wednesday turned to God offering prayers in his cell for his early release and his brother Sohail and sister Alivera paying obeisance at Dargah of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer.

Jail sources said the actor offered namaz inside the cell.

A steady stream of visitors, including Salman's friend and model-turned-actress Katrina Kaif wanting to meet the actor, continued for the second day but no one was allowed by jail superintendent M.L. Chouhan.

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