Jaipur: A driver and key witness in the blackbuck poaching case has said that actor Salman Khan did shoot the endangered animal.
Speaking to NDTV, Harish Dulani, who has been reported missing in the 18-year-old case, said that he has been living in fear.
He also told the TV channel that he was threatened every time he tried to attend a court hearing.
“I stick to the statement I made before a magistrate 18 years ago. I am not an absconder. My father received threats, I got scared and left home. If I had police protection, I could have given a statement. That was what I always intended,” he was quoted as saying.
Dulani reportedly drove the Gypsy used by the Bollywood star for a week and was with him during the alleged hunt in 1998.
He had told a magistrate that the actor was driving and shooting deer at the same time in Rajasthan.
However, the driver never testified during the trial.
At the same time, he was never available for cross-examination.
Now, Dulani says that he is ready to go to the court and testify in a third case that is yet to be decided but is scared.
“I want to appeal to NDTV that my life is in danger. I am ready to go to court but I want protection,” he said.
To be noted is the fact is that he is not the main witness in that case.
Dulani’s statement comes two days after the 50-year-old actor was acquitted by the Rajasthan High Court in two cases related to poaching of Chinkaras in Jodhpur.
Khan was jailed in 2007 for nearly a week for shooting an endangered Chinkara (gazelle) in 1998.
While arguing the case in the High Court, Khan’s lawyer had contended that the actor had been falsely framed in these cases, merely on the statements of Dulani, the driver of the vehicle, which was allegedly used in poaching in both these cases.
The lawyer argued that Dulani was never available to them for cross-examination and hence his statements could not be relied upon in the conviction of Khan.
He had also contended that both the cases have been built on circumstantial evidences and there was no eye-witness or any material evidence against Salman.
(With PTI inputs)