The Maharashtra government has informed the Bombay High Court that it had not given any preference to actor Sanjay Dutt over other prisoners, while sanctioning furlough and parole leave to him during his imprisonment in the 1993 bomb blast case from 2013 to 2016.
“According to provisions in Maharashtra Prison Manual, prisoners are released on furlough and parole after completion of conditions laid down by the sanctioning authority. However, no preference was given to sanction furlough or parole leave to convict Sanjay Dutt,” said Umaji Tolaram Pawar, Superintendent of Yerwada Prison in Pune, in an affidavit.
Dutt was released in February, nearly 103 days ahead of the end of his full prison term.
The affidavit was filed recently in response to a PIL by activist Pradeep Bhalekar who alleged that remission granted to Dutt was wrong and illegal as he was preferred over other prisoners who are waiting to get such leave on the basis of rules and good conduct.
The PIL is slated to come up for hearing before a bench headed by Justice V M Kanade next week, petitioner’s lawyer Nitin Satpute told PTI.
“What is the good behaviour and conduct that has been held as a ground for granting Dutt remission and reducing his sentence? What about the other convicts especially in petty offences who are rotting in jail. They have also filed applications seeking remission but there has been no order on those,” the petition argued.
Dutt had surrendered in May 2013 after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction by a special court here for possession of arms and ammunition which was part of the consignment used in the Mumbai 1993 serial bomb blasts.
During the investigation and the marathon trial, Dutt spent 18 months in jail. On July 31, 2007, the TADA court in Mumbai had 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 following which he surrendered to serve the remainder of his sentence.