Indian actor Saif Ali Khan’s statement has been recorded by the Mumbai Crime Branch following a notice issued by the Interpol. The Bulgarian government had written to the Interpol recently, asking it to record Khan’s statement, the India Express cited sources as saying.
The case concerns a wild boar hunting tour, in which the Bulgarian police has booked Khan’s tour agent. Khan’s statement, according to reports, was recorded as a witness.
“The actor is a witness in a hunting case probed by the Bulgarian police. After the communication from the Interpol was received, the crime branch, Bandra unit, was asked to record the actor’s statement. A team of the Mumbai Crime Branch sleuths from the unit visited the actor’s suburban residence and recorded his statement,” a senior official was quoted as saying by the publication.
The official added that it is, however, not clear if the same statement of Khan has been forwarded to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is India’s nodal agency for the Interpol.
Bulgaria is a sought-after destination for game hunting. However, according to rules of the country, a foreigner needs to produce a hunting license from his own country. The State Forestry Agency can then issue a license valid for one month to foreigners with a short-stay visa. If the foreigner does not have a hunting license, he or she needs to appear for a test in Bulgaria in order to get a license. Wild boar hunting is termed as a big game by Bulgarian hunting tour organizers. Many offer two kinds of wild boar hunting — stalking and drive hunting.
The Bulgarian police have booked an agent who organized a wild boar hunting tour for Khan. The permissions and licenses that were needed for the tour had not been taken, the report added.
“The agent has been booked for organizing a hunt without the requisite permits and license. The Interpol has sought details on the case from the actor,” another official said, as per the publication.
Hunting is banned under the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) in India. The only exception to the rule is culling of an animal that has been designated as vermin or rogue — primarily elephants. However, even that is regulated and supervised by the forest department.
In April this year, Indian actor Salman Khan was convicted to a five-year jail term for blackbuck poaching that took place during the shooting of the film Hum Saath Saath Hain in 1998. However, the co-accused in the case — Saif Ali Khan and Sonali Bendre — were acquitted by the court due to lack of evidence. Salman was granted later bail by a Jodhpur court.