Jodhpur, Aug 25 (IANS) Salman Khan, one of India's top actors, was Saturday arrested and jailed here in Rajasthan, a day after a district court upheld a five-year jail term for him for hunting an endangered chinkara deer in 1998.
The Bollywood star flew to Jodhpur by a Jet Airways flight to surrender before the judge but was arrested at the airport and taken to the chief judicial magistrate's court here in a white police van.
'We took him into custody and took him to court which ordered that the actor be taken to Jodhpur Central Jail,' a police official told IANS.
Dressed in a white T-shirt and jeans and sporting sunglasses, Salman was accompanied by his brother Sohail, his bodyguard Shera and his counsel Dipesh Mehta when he stepped out of the aircraft.
A large number of journalists and fans had gathered at the airport, the court premises and the jail to catch a glimpse of the hugely popular star. The police had a tough time controlling the crowds.
He is the second Bollywood star to be jailed in a span of a month. Sanjay Dutt spent 23 nights in Mumbai and Pune jails after being convicted under the Arms Act in the 1993 Mumbai bombings. He is currently out on bail.
Although the killing of the deer by Salman and his friends has evoked widespread revulsion, there was no dearth of Salman lovers Saturday.
'He is my hero and is suffering because of his celebrity status,' insisted Rupali Singh, a college student who described herself an ardent Salman fan.
According to legal experts, Salman will have to spend at least two nights in jail, where he was housed for three nights in 2006, as the court does not sit on Saturday and Sunday too is a holiday.
The actor had earlier told reporters outside his Mumbai home: 'I have full faith in the law of the land and I will abide by (its ruling). I am going to Jodhpur to surrender.'
A district and sessions court in Jodhpur Friday dismissed the actor's plea against the five-year jail term handed by the chief judicial magistrate's court.
In April last year, Salman had filed an appeal in the district and sessions court against the judgement of the lower court in Jodhpur.
The court had found Salman guilty under Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Salman had spent three nights in Jodhpur Central Jail before the district and sessions court gave him bail.
On Friday, district and sessions judge Kamal Raj Singhvi rejected his appeal and upheld the five-year jail term and the fine. The judge also issued an arrest warrant against him.
The star of hit films like 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' failed to appear for the hearing Friday, saying he had missed the flight to Jodhpur from Hyderabad where he was shooting. However, his sister Alvira was in the court.
Salman has been convicted of poaching a chinkara deer at the Ghoda farm near Jodhpur on the night of Sep 28, 1998 while filming Sooraj Barjatya's blockbuster 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'.
A case was registered against Salman and five others under the Indian Penal Code, the Wildlife Protection Act and the Indian Arms Act Oct 11, 1998.