The 55-year-old ‘Munnabhai MBBS’ star, convicted for illegal possession of an AK-56 rifle and its destruction and lodged in Pune’s Yerwada Jail, was released on a 14-day furlough on December 24. He has sought an extension of his leave, although the authorities concerned are yet to take a decision on his plea.
“As per prison authorities’ circular, action cannot be initiated against a person on a 14-day furlough till 29th day. This means a 14-day furlough already includes additional 14 days of extension. Hence, the prison authorities cannot initiate any action against my client Sanjay Dutt till 29th day,” the actor’s lawyer Hitesh Jain said today.
“However, we abide by law and in case jail authorities reject our extension plea, we will surrender within 24 hours. But we are yet to hear from the authorities,” he added.
In a day long drama yesterday, the actor had left his home in suburban Bandra for jail to surrender on expiry of his 14-day furlough, but was back home again due to lack of coordination between the prison and police authorities on his application seeking an extension of leave of absence.
When contacted, Rajendra Dhamane, Deputy Inspector General (Prisons), Pune, today said, “Yerwada jail’s Superintendent of Police has sent an email this morning to Assistant Police Commissioner (Bandra).”
According to prison police, Dutt had cited bad health as reason for extension of furlough. Mumbai Police has been asked to verify if the reason cited by the convict is true.
When asked if he received any email from Yerwada jail authorities, Assistant Police Commissioner (Bandra) Shivaji Kolekar said he was yet to check his email account as he was busy throughout the day.
Earlier in October 2013, Dutt had been granted furlough for 28 days on health grounds, followed by a similar leave in December 2013 to tend to his “ailing” wife Manyata. However, a controversy had erupted when newspapers published photographs of Manyata reportedly attending a film screening, raising doubts about the actor’s claim of his wife’s illness.
Dutt is undergoing the remainder of his five-year jail term for possessing illegal firearm that was part of a cache of weapons meant to be used during the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.