Sanjay Dutt says amazing to be a free man after 23 years

Sanjay Dutt, right, shows a thumbs up sign along with his wife Maanyata after arriving at his residence in Mumbai. Photo courtesy: AP
Sanjay Dutt, right, shows a thumbs up sign along with his wife Maanyata after arriving at his residence in Mumbai. Photo courtesy: AP

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]MUMBAI (TIP): Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt said on February 25 to be free is the most amazing feeling after serving 42 months in prison for possessing an AK-56 supplied by gangsters said to be behind a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993.

Sanjay Dutt with his children, Iqra and Shahraan, after he was released from prison. Photo courtesy: HT
Sanjay Dutt with his children, Iqra and Shahraan, after he was released from prison. Photo courtesy: HT

“After 23 years of struggle, I am happy that the wait has come to an end… I know it will take some time for me to convince myself that I am free,” Dutt told reporters at his residence in Mumbai.

“To be free is the most amazing feeling,” he added.

Dutt was arrested on April 19, 1993, for possessing and destroying an AK- 56 rifle, which was a part of a cache of arms and explosives which landed in India prior to the serial blasts of March 1993. He spent 18 months in jail in 1993.

On July 31, 2007, the TADA court in Mumbai sentenced him to six years’ rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000. In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling but reduced the sentence to five years.

“I miss my father today. If my father would have been alive, he would have been the happiest. His only fight was to see his son free,” he said.

“Dad, I am free today and I love you,” he said looking up at the sky.

Dutt had kissed the ground as he walked out of the Yerwada jail in Pune after authorities decided to release him ahead of schedule for good behaviour.

“I love my country and the Tricolour is my life. After coming out of the jail, I kissed the ground and saluted the flag,” he said as wife Manyata and his children looked on.

“One of the most important moments of my life was when judge PD Kode Sir told me that I am not a terrorist. There was nothing else that was bigger than that for me.”

Dutt had taken a chartered flight from Pune to Mumbai with wife Manyata and children Iqra and Shahran. He was greeted by fans at the airport and went on to pay obeisance at Siddhivinayak temple. He then visited his mother and late Bollywood actor Nargis Dutt’s grave.

The 56-year-old actor said he is looking forward to spending time with his family and getting back to work.

Dutt’s jail term has been controversial with accusations that he availed of irregular remission in his sentence and was accorded special treatment by the authorities. Authorities have denied the reports and maintained that Dutt’s remission days were calculated in accordance with rules and jail manual.

During his imprisonment, he was granted parole of 90 days in December 2013 and again for 30 days later.

The actor’s early release has come as a relief for the Dutt family which has undergone the ordeal of seeing him walk in and out of police stations, custody, court premises and jails from the day of his arrest in 1993.

His friends in the industry were also happy at his release. While filmmaker Raj Kumar Hirani, who will shortly start shooting a biopic on the actor, said he was “very happy”, director Subhash Ghai also said he wants to make a film with Dutt.

Sanjay Dutt, right, shows a thumbs up sign along with his wife Maanyata after arriving at his residence in Mumbai. Photo courtesy: AP
Sanjay Dutt, right, shows a thumbs up sign along with his wife Maanyata after arriving at his residence in Mumbai. Photo courtesy: AP
Sanjay Dutt at Siddhivinayak temple after completing his term. Photo courtesy: HT
Sanjay Dutt at Siddhivinayak temple after completing his term. Photo courtesy: HT
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt at his residence. Photo courtesy: HT
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt at his residence. Photo courtesy: HT

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From arrest to release: 23-yr saga

MUMBAI (TIP): It was on August 26, 2015, when 56-year-old Sanjay Dutt was last released from jail on a 30-day parole.nDutt was last spotted at Khar police station sporting a black shirt and new haircut, at a time when the police officials were busy handling the controversial Sheena Bora murder case. It possibly was the last time the actor had to report to a police station.

And Wednesday would possibly be the last time Dutt would spend time in a barrack as he readies himself to walk out of the Yerwada prison after serving a sentence of five years for being in possession of an AK-56 rifle and his connection with the 1993 Mumbai blasts.

Here is a complete timeline of Sanjay Dutt’s relationship with the law since his arrest in 1993.

  • Dutt convicted to 5 years or 60 months in prison
  • Number of days spend in prison from 1993 to 2007: 551 days
  • Number of days Dutt spend in prison since May 16 2013: 894 days
  • Number of days out of parole: 120 days
  • Number of days out on furlough: 44 days
  • April 19, 1993 – Sanjay Dutt was arrested under TADA and the Arms Act for his role in 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.
  • May 5, 1993 – He was released on bail.
  • July 4, 1994 – His bail was cancelled and he was re-arrested.
  • November 4, 1993: Nearly eight months after the serial blasts, primary charge sheet running to more than 10,000 pages were filed against 189 accused including actor Sanjay Dutt.
  • October 16, 1995: Sanjay Dutt granted bail by Supreme Court
  • November 2006 – The TADA court found Sanjay Dutt guilty under Arms Act but acquitted him under TADA.
  • July 2007 – He was convicted and sentenced to six year jail term.
  • August 2, 2007 – He was re-arrested and taken to Yerwada prison in Pune
  • August 20, 2007 – He was granted bail by Supreme Court
  • March 21, 2013 – Supreme Court sends Sanjay Dutt to five year in jail and asked him to surrender within four weeks.
  • April 15, 2013 – Dutt’s advocate made an oral request to court to allow the actor to directly surrender before the jail and not before the special court.
  • April 17, 2013: the Apex court granted time of four weeks to Dutt to surrender before the special court.
  • April 20, 2013: The Actor moved a review petition against the March 21 judgement of the apex court.
  • May 10, 2013: The Apex court rejected the review petition of the actor.
  • May 16, 2013: Dutt surrenders and is send to Yerwada Prison in Pune
  • October 2, 2013: Dutt is granted furlough for two weeks, and is extended by two weeks till October 29
  • October 30, 2013: Dutt returns to prison
  • December 6, 2013: Dutt granted parole for 30 days
  • January, 2014: Granted first parole extension of 30 days
  • February 18, 2014: Granted second extension of 30 days
  • December 23, 2014: Granted furlough
  • January 10, 2015: Dutt returns to prison after his plea for extension is turned down
  • August 26, 2015: Dutt is released of parole

February 25, 2016: Dutt is released from Jail

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Charges on the actor

  • Criminal conspiracy: Not guilty as conspiracy not established
  • Section 3(3) of TADA: Not guilty as intention of aiding and abetting terrorism not established
  • Section 5 of TADA Act: Not guilty as prima facie the possession has direct nexus with terrorist activities not established
  • Section 6 of TADA Act: Not guilty as possession of arms and ammunition with intent to aid terrorists not established.
  • Section 3 and 7 read with sections 25 (1-A) and (1-B) of Arms Act: Found guilty
  • Speculation of sentence: Under section 7 read with section (1-A) of Arms Act, the minimum punishment is five years and a maximum of 10 years.
  • Under section 3 read with (1-B) of Arms Act the punishment is from 1 to 3 years.
  • In 1995, Dutt had made a representation before the advisory committee of the state that the charges of TADA against him should be dropped and if at all he is charged, he should be charged under Arms Act.

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