JODHPUR: An Indian court on Wednesday acquitted Bollywood superstar Salman Khan of using unlicensed firearms to kill protected wildlife almost two decades ago, a lawyer said.
Khan, 51, has now been acquitted in three out of four cases filed against him for hunting rare black bucks, a native species of antelope, while shooting a film in the northwestern state of Rajasthan in 1998.
He was in court to hear the verdict and hundreds of police were deployed outside to keep the crowds of fans under control.
“He was charged under two sections of the Arms Act and he has been cleared in both,” Hastimal Saraswat, a defence lawyer, told reporters outside the court in Jodhpur city.
“He was acquitted due to lack of conclusive evidence.”
A prosecution lawyer said he would study the judgement in detail before deciding how to proceed. The actor still faces a fourth case on charges of poaching black bucks.
Khan, known for playing a tough guy in Hindi films, had accused the state forest department of framing him in the case.
The actor is one of the Indian movie industry’s biggest draws and has starred in more than 100 films and television shows.
But he is no stranger to controversy and in 2015 he was cleared in another long-running case of killing a homeless man in a hit-and-run crash.
Indian courts are often known to take years — and sometimes decades — to pronounce verdicts.