Salman Khan has been granted bail in the 20 year old blackbuck poaching case against him. However, even with all the times, he has been on the wrong side of the law, he is just one in a long list of film personalities to do so over years.
Owing to his exalted status and the kind of money invested over him, Salman, 52, invariably stands out as the numero uno among those who have grappled with the law, police and courts.
For, this is the second time in the past decade that he has been in-and-out of courts and lock-ups, the first for the September 28, 2002 road accident case when his Toyota SUV rammed into a bakery and killed one pavement dweller in the posh Bandra.
After walking the full length of the keel, he was sentenced to five years in jail but was acquitted on appeal in December 2015. Now, the Maharashtra Government has challenged the acquittal of “Bhai”, as he is fondly known in Bollywood, before the Supreme Court.
Immediately prior to this, his friend and another “Bhai” Sanjay Dutt virtually created history by becoming the first major film personality to be convicted and also one to complete his full jail sentence.
Despite many controversies, he finally walked out of Yerawada Central Jail, Pune in February 2016, with the halo of his larger-than-life hero image still intact.
Dutt was sentenced to five years by the Supreme Court for illegal possession of weapons after the bloody Mumbai communal carnage of December 1992-January 1993 and its fallout in the form of the March 12, 1993, serial bomb blasts, India’s biggest terror strike till date which left 257 dead.
Saif Ali Khan
Bollywood’s ‘Chhote Nawab’ Saif Ali Khan, the 10th in the royal hierarchy of the erstwhile Pataudi State in modern-day Haryana, got into fisticuffs with an NRI businessman Iqbal Mir Sharma, at a five-star hotel in February 2012.
Accompanied by his friends, including future wife Kareena Kapoor, Saif was arrested and let out on bail and the matter has been referred for mediation by a Mumbai Court.
In May 2001, actor Fardeen Khan, son of the late Feroze Khan, shot into the headlines after he was arrested from Juhu for buying cocaine from a tout. He was tried before a Special NDPS Court, but after over a decade granted conditional immunity from prosecution.
The former Big Bucks of Bollywood, leading diamantaire Bharat Shah was involved in alleged shadow funding of the film, Chori Chori, Chupke Chupke (coincidentally, starring Salman Khan), produced by Nasim Rizvi.
Shah was accused of allegedly financing the film which was made under orders from an absconder mafia don but was later acquitted by a Special MCOCA Court.
Actor Monica Bedi grabbed the headlines in September 2002 when she was arrested along with mafia don Abu Salem by the Portuguese authorities for entering the country with fake documents.
After a term in a Lisbon prison and a long legal battle, the duo was deported to India in November 2005 to face multiple cases by various agencies.
While Salem is in jail facing various cases, Bedi was arrested in a forged passport case. The Supreme Court upheld her conviction but reduced her sentence from five years jail to two-and-half years, which she had already spent in prison as an undertrial and she walked out free in July 2007.
In June 2009, Bollywood was shocked when actor Shiney Ahuja was arrested on charges of raping his maid-servant.
Though the victim was later declared hostile, the case against Ahuja continued. He was sentenced to seven years in jail against which he appealed before Bombay High Court. He is currently out on bail.
Actor Sooraj Pancholi, son of Bollywood actor-couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab is embroiled in a case of abetment of suicide of British-American actor Jiah Khan, who was found dead at home in June 2013. The matter is in the courts.
Another headline grabber was the alleged involvement of well-known music director Nadeem Saifi, of the erstwhile Nadeem-Shravan duo, who is wanted-accused for the killing of music baron Gulshan Kumar in August 1997.
At that time, Nadeem was in London and to evade arrest he stayed there. Later, the UK House of Lords upheld the London High Court’s ruling against his extradition and rejected Indian government’s plea for a review of the decision.