Black buck case: Statements given by witnesses in court contradict those in new Salman Khan biography

Black buck case: Statements given by witnesses in court contradict those in new Salman Khan biography

By: || Updated: 26 Dec 2015 01:02 PM
New Delhi: Being Salman, the first-ever biography on the Bollywood superstar, is set for a December 27 release, which also coincides with Salman Khan's 50th birthday. The book chronicles the life of the larger-than-life actor, and also throws light on the infamous black buck poaching case of 1998, among several other highlights.

The biography, authored by TV journalist Jasim Khan, contains information that might affect the course of events in the black buck case. Being Salman reveals that the two witnesses who gave their statements in a Rajasthan court for the case in which Salman is being tried, seem to differ from what was earlier recorded. According to the statements recorded in the book, one witness claims to have seen the dead black buck on the ill-fated night, whereas the other has denied seeing the carcass. More importantly, the book mentions that the two witnesses were present together on the same night in 1998.

Here is an excerpt from pages 142-145 of Being Salman:

"...Sheraram claims he was sleeping on that fateful night. According to him, he woke up to the sound of a gunshot on the night of 1 October 1998. He saw a vehicle going along the road. It went for some distance and there was another sound of a gunshot. He alerted Mangilal who informed him that Poonam Chand and Chogaram were after the perpetrators. Sheraram took Mangilal on his bike to follow them.

Mangilal has a slightly different version of the story: 'It was around 1 a.m. when I heard a gunshot. I also heard Chogaram's voice. He shouted that somebody was hunting deer. When there was a commotion, I woke up Sheraram and informed him  about what was happening. I said Poonam Chand and Chogaram were alone and that we must go to them. It was then that Sheraram took out his motorcycle..'

'As soon as we approached the road, we saw a Gypsy,' Mangilal continues with his story. 'It was turning back. We stopped the bike and gestured to the car to stop. We hit it with a wooden staff as it slowed down. But they brandished guns and sped past us.'

Mangilal says he clearly saw Salman in the driver's seat. Saif Ali Khan was sitting adjacent to him. He had also noted the registration number of the Gypsy. According to him, they chased it from Dhani to Jodhpur road and then returned. Chogaram and Poonam Chand met them on their way back from Kankani to Guda. They also corroborated what Mangilal and Sheraram had seen.

'Both mentioned the clear location where the firing took place. They even claimed to have seen blackbucks running out of fear. We went to the spot of the crime and saw deer lying dead. We called four-five other villagers from Dhani and guarded those carcasses for the whole night. Poonam Chand and Chogaram then informed the forest officials in the morning,' recalls Mangilal.

Sheraram, however, says they saw dead animals in the morning, not at night. According to him, 'We recognized Salman in the driver's seat. We were chasing the Gypsy on the road during the night. We heard two-three gunshots. We could not find the kill immediately as it was dark. But when we went to the spot in the morning, we saw two dead blackbucks. We then informed the forest check post.'

Chogaram was out to answer nature's call. He, too, was alerted by the sound of gunfire. He could see the headlight of the Gypsy as he turned to see what had happened. He took Poonam Chand on the bike and ventured out to see if the poachers were in the village.

The following are the statements of Chogaram and Poonam Chand as recorded in the complaint to the magistrate:

Chogaram has deposed that Poonam Chand called him at about 1.30 a.m. on 1 October 1998. He went to Poonam Chand and both saw a white-coloured Gypsy moving slowly along the fields. They suspected poachers were out on their job and followed the Gypsy on Poonam Chand's motorcycle. The registration number of the Gypsy as noted down by them was RJ 191 C 2201. They saw seven people in the Gypsy, including three girls. According to them, one of the people had long hair. They identified Salman at the steering wheel and Saif Ali Khan sitting by his side. Chogaram says he can identify the girls sitting in the back seat and that he had seen the same people chasing down blackbucks in the same Gypsy in Luni on 28 September 1998.

Chogaram has also informed that Salman Khan had stopped the Gypsy at two spots and stood up to fire at two separate herds of blackbucks on that same night. He saw one injured blackbuck limping behind its herd while another fell near Prahaladram Bishnoi's Dhani village. Chogaram also heard other people sitting in the Gypsy, saying, 'Salman, fire karo.' When the Gypsy was followed by a motorcycle and the villagers raised a commotion, Salman turned it towards Guda village. Chogaram and Poonam Chand concluded that they were not sufficient to seize all of them. So, they thought of encircling the Gypsy at Guda village. They accelerated their bike to come right behind the Gypsy and overtook it. However, they were spoofed as the Gypsy headed towards Kankani. Shri Sheraram and Mangilal encountered it on the way and tried to stop it. However, Salman Khan made a threatening gesture with the gun and sped past them. The Gypsy could not be stopped after that as it raced from Kankani to Jodhpur via the Pali-Jodhpur road.

Poonam Chand, Chogaram, Sheraram and Mangilal Bishnoi are the main eyewitnesses in the Kankani poaching case. Their versions of events are almost the same, except for two striking inconsistencies. Firstly, Mangilal claims he woke up upon hearing the commotion and then alerted Sheraram, whereas Sheraram says he saw the Gypsy and then heard gunshots. It was then that he woke up Mangilal.

Secondly, if Mangilal is to be believed, they saw the carcasses at night and they guarded them the whole night. However, Sheraram contradicts him by saying that they found the dead deer only in the morning."


Being Salman is a holistic biography of the Bollywood star, and the book tries to understand the personality and lineage of the actor, the humanitarian and the ‘bad boy’ of Bollywood.

The biography takes the reader to the interesting lineage of the star and comes packed with many untold and unheard stories. For instance, Salman has the blood of a solider as his ancestors served the cavalry regiment of the Holkars. His random behaviours in past may have amazed some, but what’s the real reason behind his humanitarian nature has also been explored in the book. The book is published by Penguin-Viking and is coming in three languages -- English, Hindi and Marathi.

Author Jasim Khan is a television journalist and has a vast experience of developing good stories for many TV Shows. He is currently in ABP News and has worked for Aajtak and Zee News previously.

Being Salman is going to hit the stands on December 27, which coincides with Salman Khan’s 50th birthday. It will be available in all bookstores, and can be ordered online on all major shopping sites such as Flipkart and Amazon.
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