January,7,2016: Actor Sanjay Dutt is set to walk out of jail on February 27 after the Maharashtra government remitted his sentence in the Mumbai serial blasts case.
The incarcerated Bollywood actor, whose five-year sentence for his involvement in the 1993 blasts was confirmed by the Supreme Court in March 2013, will be freed next month, official sources told Times Now on Wednesday.
The sources indicated that barring last-minute glitches, Sanjay would be released after completing the remaining 42-month period of his sentence.
Dutt was acquitted of terror charges under the TADA, but found guilty of possessing illegal arms, acquired ostensibly to protect his family during the communal conflagration that engulfed Mumbai after the demolition of the Babri Mosque on December 6, 1992.
Dutt’s lawyer Hitesh Jain said, “Based on the remission that he is entitled to, he will be released in February. The exact date will be decided by the jail authorities.”
Following the apex court orders, his bail was cancelled and he was ordered to surrender within four weeks, which he complied with on May 16, 2013 and was lodged in Arthur Road Central Jail.
A week later, he was shifted to the Yeravada Central Jail, Pune, where he has been lodged since then and has earned the reputation of being a well-behaved inmate.
Of the five-year sentence, the actor had already served 18 months as an undertrial and was required to undergo another 42 months, which is now on the verge of completing.
Dutt had stayed out of jail for 118 days on paroles and furloughs in the first one year of his term at Yerawada, prompting many to raise questions whether the government was granting favours to him. One key hurdle between Dutt and his freedom was an issue about him allegedly reporting late to the jail after finishing his furlough in January 2015.
As per jail manual, an inmate reporting late on furlough or parole is punished in the form of reduction in the remission. An inquiry was conducted and decision awaited in this regard.
State Prison Department head Bhushankumar Upadhyay said, “We have come to know that the government has taken a decision, but we are yet to receive any communication. The decision on date of release will be taken after that.” Jail department sources said the inquiry had concluded it was a communication lapse on the part of jail administration and thus Dutt would not be penalised for the delay in reporting.
The punitive action would have reduced Dutt’s remission by at least two to three months, said a Yerawada prison officer.
“It must be stressed that no application for reduction in sentence was made and the remission that he is being granted is as per the prison manual and no exception has been made,” said Dutt’s lawyer.
In between serving time, Dutt was granted either parole or furlough on various grounds, attracting a lot of criticism from various quarters, while some prominent personalities demanded his release from jail.