Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has told the Supreme Court that he has always been treated as an ordinary citizen by courts and never given any special privilege, as he sought to justify a Rajasthan High Court order suspending his conviction in the blackbuck hunting case.
The "Dabangg" star also submitted that he has been one of the highest tax payers and the high court stayed his conviction to enable him to go abroad for his professional engagement which brings in foreign exchange in the country.
The 48-year-old actor opposed the stand taken by Rajasthan government which had submitted that the high court had granted special privileges to him by staying his conviction in which he was sentenced by a trial court to undergo five-year jail term.
On July 9, the apex court issued notice to Salman Khan on a plea by Rajasthan government challenging the high court decision.
The state government had approached the apex court against the Rajasthan High Court order of November 12 last year, staying his 2006 conviction in the case and paving way for him to apply for a British visa.
"It is denied that the High Court failed to apply the principle that everyone is equal before law and granted me special privilege because I am a celebrity. The courts have at all times treated me as any other ordinary citizen and I have always complied with the conditions imposed upon me," the "Kick" lead star said in an affidavit to the apex court.
Seeking dismissal of the state government's plea, the star submitted that he is also a philanthropist and promotes Indian films and his professional engagement generates employment for the industry.
"The nature of my professional engagements is such that I frequently travel to various countries, where I am required to discharge my professional duties towards films, promotion of films, brand endorsements, promoting charitable causes," he said.
Salman Khan said that the high court has appreciated the fact that the trial court's conviction order had started hampering his professional engagements and would cause irreparable damage to him as well as others who will engage his professional service as an actor.
Refuting allegations of Rajasthan government that one prime witness was threatened to depose in his favour, Khan said it was a mere charge which was never proved.
Under British immigration rules, any person convicted for more than four years is not eligible for a visa. Since the actor was convicted for five