Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was sent to jail Thursday after being found guilty of poaching rare blackbuck antelopes. The case had been in and out of court for nearly 20 years before a court in the Indian city of Jodhpur sentenced him to five years in prison.
The court also fined Khan INR10,000 ($154) for hunting and killing two blackbucks in 1998. Khan can appeal for bail to a higher court.
The incident occurred while Khan was shooting the film “Hum Saath Saath Hain” in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Khan’s co-stars Saif Ali Khan, Neelam Kothari, Tabu, and Sonali Bendre, who were also accused, were all acquitted by the court.
The case was brought by the Bishnoi community, a sect dedicated to protecting flora and fauna. Blackbucks are also safeguarded under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act.
Khan has had previous run-ins with the law. In 2006, he was sentenced to five years in prison for hunting chinkara, or Indian gazelle, in 1998. He was granted bail after three days behind bars, and was acquitted in 2016.
In 2002, Khan was implicated in a fatal hit and run incident in Mumbai. He was acquitted of all charges in 2015.
Khan is one of India’s most bankable stars. He has just completed a major Abu Dhabi shoot for “Race 3,” due a July release in the Eid holiday season.
Khan recently enjoyed breakthrough success in China, where he was previously unknown. His 2015 film “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” was released in late February and has grossed an impressive $45.4 million to date. But such a high-profile conviction could mean that China’s increasingly moralistic regulators will steer clear of his next titles.