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Last Updated: Monday, 27 February 2006, 17:58 GMT
Bollywood stars in poaching case
By Narayan Bareth
BBC News, Jaipur

Actor Salman Khan is escorted by policemen through a crowd outside Jodhpur District Court in India
Salman Khan has already been found guilty of poaching
Several leading Bollywood actors have been charged in a poaching case by a court in Jodhpur, in India's western Rajasthan state.

Salman Khan has already been sentenced to a year in prison for killing a protected black buck in a related case.

Actor Saif Ali Khan and actresses Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre are accused of accompanying Salman Khan on the illegal hunting trip.

All have denied the charges and said they will contest the case.

The case relates to a hunting trip in Jodhpur in 1998, when two black bucks, a protected antelope species, were killed.

The four actors and two men who helped organise the trip have been accused of unlawful assembly and assisting Khan.

They have been charged under the Indian Penal Code and Wildlife Protection Act.

More cases

The defence has asked the court to exempt the stars from appearing in court during the trial, which is expected to start soon.

Saif Ali Khan
Saif Ali Khan has been charged for accompanying Salman Khan

This is the second case against Khan relating to the 1998 poaching incident.

His one-year prison sentence has been suspended for a month to allow him to appeal to a higher court.

The actor faces another two cases relating to the incident - one for killing a spotted gazelle and another for possessing an illegal weapon used in the hunt.

The original case was filed by the local Bishnoi community who revere and worship the blackbucks.

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