Mumbai (AFP) – Convicted Bollywood star Salman Khan tweeted “tears of gratitude” to all his fans Monday in his first remarks since being bailed over a five-year jail sentence for killing rare antelopes.
Khan, one of the world’s highest-paid actors, was convicted in the 20-year-old case on Thursday and spent two nights in Jodhpur Central Jail before being released on bail by a judge Saturday.
“Tears of gratitude. To all my loved ones who are with me and never lost hope.
“Thank you for being there with all the love and support. God Bless,” the actor wrote to his 32.7 million Twitter followers.
Khan had denied shooting dead two rare antelopes known as black bucks on a hunting trip while filming a movie in October 1998.
But the court found him guilty while acquitting four other actors.
Khan has accused Rajasthan’s forest department of trying to frame him.
His lawyers claim the black bucks died of natural causes such as overeating, insisting there was no evidence they were shot.
Throughout the multiple cases, eyewitnesses have stated they saw Khan firing a gun.
A judge released Khan, one of Indian cinema’s most bankable stars, in return for bail and sureties totalling 100,000 rupees ($1,500). He cannot leave India without court permission.
The 52-year-old enjoys a cult-like status in star-obsessed India and is one of Bollywood’s biggest draws, despite a host of controversies.
Khan was in a vehicle in Mumbai, the home of Bollywood cinema, in 2002 when it mounted the curb and killed a homeless man sleeping on the pavement.
He was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in prison, but the verdict was overturned in a higher court in 2015. His acquittal is being challenged in the Supreme Court.