Mumbai: Bollywood’s prominent veteran actor Sanjay Dutt is all set to walk free from Yerwada jail in Pune on February 27 after been given clean chit by Maharashtra government.
Incarcerated Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, whose five-year sentence for his involvement in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts was confirmed by the Supreme Court in March 2013, will be freed on February 27, official sources said.
Minister for State (Home) Ranjit Patil signed the file allowing Dutt’s release, without penalising him for reporting late from his furlough in January 2015.
Dutt was acquitted of terror charges under the TADA but found guilty of possessing illegal arms, acquired apparently to protect his family during the communal conflagration that engulfed Mumbai after the demolition of the Babri Mosque on December 6, 1992.
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.
Sources say the abatement has been granted on grounds of good behaviour.
Last year, former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju’s petition in 2013 to pardon Sanjay Dutt was rejected. Sources had said that Governor Vidyasagar Rao rejected the petition on the recommendation of the Maharashtra home department, which feared to set a bad precedent since the actor’s sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court. Also, the actor’s continuous breaks from jail have earlier been criticised as a testimony of VIP treatment.
More than 118 days have been spent out of prison by Mr Dutt between May 2013 and 2014.
It was claimed by him that possession of weapons was necessary to protect himself and his family from the deadly riots which were the aftermath of a series of bombs that exploded Mumbai city’s landmarks.
Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, slapped with a five-year jail term for the Rajasthan Blackbuck killing case — and now given bail — is one in a long list of film personalities who have had a serious brush with the law, grabbing headlines over the years.
Owing to his exalted status and the kind of money invested over him, Salman, 52, invariably stands out as the numero uno among those who have grappled with the law, police and courts.
For, this is the second time in the past decade that he has been in-and-out of courts and lock-ups, the first for the September 28, 2002 road accident case when his Toyota SUV rammed into a bakery and killed one pavement dweller in the posh Bandra.
After walking the full length of the keel, he was sentenced to five years in jail but was acquitted on appeal in December 2015. Now, the Maharashtra Government has challenged the acquittal of “Bhai” — as he is fondly known in Bollywood — before the Supreme Court.
Immediately prior to this, his friend and another “Bhai” Sanjay Dutt virtually created history by becoming the first major film personality to be convicted and also one to complete his full jail sentence.
Despite many controversies, he finally walked out of Yerawada Central Jail, Pune in February 2016, with the halo of his larger-than-life hero image still intact.
Dutt was sentenced to five years by the Supreme Court for illegal possession of weapons after the bloody Mumbai communal carnage of Decemebr 1992-Januarry 1993 and its fallout in the form of the March 12, 1993 serial bomb blasts, India’s biggest terror strike till date which left 257 dead.
In May 2001, actor Fardeen Khan, son of the late Feroze Khan, shot into the headlines after he was arrested from Juhu for bying cocaine from a tout. He was tried before a Special NDPS Court, but after over a decade, granted conditional immunity from prosecution.
The former Big Bucks of Bollywood, leading diamantaire Bharat Shah was involved in alleged shadow funding of the film, “Chori Chori, Chupke Chupe” (coincidentally, starring Salman Khan!), produced by Nasim Rizvi.
Shah was accused of allegedly financing the film which was made under orders from an absconder mafia don, but was later acquitted by a Special MCOCA Court.
Actress Monica Bedi grabbed the headlines in September 2002 when she was arrested along with mafia don Abu Salem by the Portuguese authorities for entering the country with fake documents.
After a term in a Lisbon prison and a long legal battle, the duo was deported to India in November 2005 to face multiple cases by various agencies.
While Salem is in jail facing various cases, Bedi was arrested in a forged passport case. The Supreme Court upheld her conviction but reduced her sentence from five years jail to two-and-half years, which she had already spent in prison as an undertrial and she walked out free in July 2007.
In June 2009, Bollywood was shocked when actor Shiney Ahuja was arrested on charges of raping his maid-servant.
Though the victim was later declared hostile, the case against Ahuja continued. He was sentenced to seven years in jail against which he appealed before Bombay High Court. He is currently out on bail.
In a crime of passion, small-time actress Maria Susairaj and her ex-naval officer boyfriend Emile Jerome Mathew allegedly joined hands to kill a TV company executive Neeraj Grover at his Mumbai flat in May 2008.
Later they chopped up the body into pieces, put it in a suitcase and dumped and burnt it on the outskirts of Mumbai.
After a three year legal battle, Maria was acquitted of the murder charge. She was held guilty for destruction of evidences and awarded three years in prison, while Mathew is serving a 10-year jail sentence.
Actor Sooraj Pancholi, son of Bollywood actor-couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab is embroiled in a case of abetment of suicide of British-American actress Jiah Khan, who was found dead at home in June 2013. The matter is in the courts.
Bollywood’s ‘Chhote Nawab’ Saif Ali Khan, the 10th in the royal hierarchy of the erstwhile Patudi State in modern-day Haryana, got into fisticuffs with a NRI businessman Iqbal Mir Sharma, at a five-star hotel in February 2012.
Accompanied by his friends, including future wife Kareena Kapoor, Saif was arrested and let out on bail and the matter has been referred for mediation by a Mumbai Court.
Another headline grabber was the alleged involvement of well-known music director Nadeem Saifi, of the erstwhile Nadeem-Shravan duo, who is wanted-accused for the killing of music baron Gulshan Kumar in August 1997.
At that time, Nadeem was in London and to evade arrest he stayed there. Later, the UK House of Lords upheld the London High Courta’s ruling against his extradition and rejected Indian government’s plea for a review of the decision.
In April 2016, the Thane police busted an international narcotics racket in which one of the prime suspects named is well-known actress Mamta Kulkarni and her husband, alleged drug lord Vicky Goswami.
The case acquired international dimensions with the Indian, American and Kenyan authorities investigating the matter. A Mumbai court has declared the Kulkarni-Goswami couple as absconders. IANS