A sessions court judge who is expected to decide today if Bollywood superstar Salman Khan spends more time at Rajasthan's Jodhpur central jail or not over the blackbuck poaching case has been transferred in an annual shake-up. Jodhpur Sessions Judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi was among 87 sessions court judges who have been transferred. It is customary for judges to be given seven days for the transition so he is expected to hear the case today. Judge Joshi will then be replaced by Chandra Kumar Songara, district and sessions judge of Bhilwara.
Judge Joshi had, on Friday, put off the hearing by a day as he wanted to see the entire case record before deciding whether Salman Khan should be granted bail.
Dev Kumar Khatri, the judge who sent Salman Khan to jail for killing two blackbucks 20 years ago, has also been transferred out in the major reshuffle of Rajasthan's judicial officers ordered by the High Court. Judge Khatri will be replaced by Samrendra Singh Sikarwar, who is the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate in Udaipur.
On Thursday, Judge Khatri had convicted Salman Khan and sentenced him to jail for five years for poaching two endangered blackbucks in 1998, emphasizing that the "accused is a film star and people look up to him".
"The way the accused killed two innocent black bucks in violation of the wildlife laws...he is a film star, people emulate him and look up to him... and there has been a rise in poaching incidents, so leniency is not justified given the severity of the crime, the evidence and the circumstances," Judge Khatri had said, explaining his decision.
Salman Khan was taken directly to the Jodhpur Central Jail from the court on Thursday, where he is lodged as Prisoner No. 106.
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