It’s another blow to the Khalnayak of Bollywood. The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Maharashtra government to explain in detail its decision to release Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt early from jail on grounds of good conduct.
On 31st July 2007, the TADA court in Mumbai sentenced Sanjay Dutt to six years rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act and also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000. Following that, in 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling, and reducing the sentence, ordered Dutt to five years in jail for possession of arms, which were said to be a part of the consignment used in the 1993 blasts in Mumbai. He served his imprisonment at Yerwada Central Jail, Pune.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by Pune-based activist Pradeep Bhalekar challenging the series of furloughs and paroles granted to Dutt when he was serving his sentence.
Sanjay, who had spent nearly 18 months behind the bars in three stretches in the initial stages of his arrest on 19 April 1993, and was slated to serve the remaining 42 months jail term in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, was released on February 25, 2016 earlier than the schedule, owing to what was described as 144-day remission granted to him by the jail administration as per the prison norms.
Sanju Baba, as the actor is popularly known as in Bollywood circles, was arrested for the first time on his arrival from Mauritius on 19 April 1993, for possessing prohibited AK-56 rifle and convicted under the Arms Act in 2006. Given that he had already spent nearly 18 months behind the bars in three stretches in the past, the apex court had asked Sanjay to serve a remaining jail term of three and a half years.
Dutt was let out in February 2016, eight months early, on account of his good conduct while in prison.
He had been granted parole several times and at one time there was a delay of two days when he did not return on time to report in jail. In spite of this, the higher authorities condoned the delay and under good conduct remitted his sentence of 139 days. This is never done for other jailed convicts. This is exactly what the court wants to know said Bhalekar’s lawyer Nitin Satpute.”How did the authorities assess that Dutt’s conduct was good? When did they get time to make such an assessment when he was out on parole half the time?” asked Justice Sawant.
Bhalekar, the petitioner himself has served a sentence after being convicted in a case of attempt to murder. Following the appeal, the court directed the state government to file an affidavit stating what parameters were considered while deciding that Dutt indeed deserved an early release.
During his imprisonment, the 56-year-old actor was granted parole of 90 days in December 2013 and later again for 30 days. Since his release from jail, Dutt has made a comeback in films; he has already shot for Bhoomi, directed by Omung Kumar. The actor has also signed two more films, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 and Malang, which will mark the directorial debut of Aarambh Singh, one of the assistant directors on Bhoomi. A film is also being made on his life starring Ranbir Kapoor and directed by Rajkumar Hirani.