A court in India Monday deferred the hearing of leading Bollywood actor Salman Khan's plea to suspend his five-year jail term in a deer poaching case to July 17.
The 52-year-old actor, who was sentenced to five years in prison by a special court on April 5 for poaching two rare antelopes in the western state of Rajasthan's Jodhpur city two decades back, is currently out on bail.
"The actor had challenged his jail sentence in a court in Jodhpur. The court was supposed to hear his plea Monday. But now it has been deferred to July 17. Khan, however, appeared in person in the court," a lawyer said.
Though Khan was convicted of killing the two blackbucks, a protected species, near a remote village in Jodhpur late on Oct. 1 night in 1998 while shooting a movie, four of co-actors were acquitted by the court on "benefit of doubt" though all were charged by prosecutors.
This is the fourth case filed against Khan in connection with poaching wild animals during the filming of the popular movie, Hum Saath Saath Hain. He had been acquitted in the other three cases by various courts.
The killing of the two blackbucks took place in a forest close to a village of Bishnois, a community that protects and worships blackbucks. Villagers claim they had chased the vehicles in which the actors were present after hearing gunshots and finding the carcasses of the deer.
Khan is one of Bollywood's biggest stars who has starred in more than 100 films. But he is no stranger to controversies. He has been embroiled in various cases, including a hit-and-run case, and he was jailed twice in these cases in April 2006 and in August 2007.
However, in December 2015, he was acquitted by a court in the 2002 hit-and-run case in which a homeless man died and few others sustained injuries.
The actor insists he's innocent.