THE law is supposed to treat everyone equally but the Mumbai Police seemed to step around that notion on Thursday when Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt surrendered before the special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act (TADA) court to serve his sentence in the 1993 serial bomb blasts case.
Soon after the court closed for the day at 4.15 pm,the police cordoned off the entire court building,forcing every one out. These are security measures. We cannot allow anyone to stay in the court premises, said senior police inspector Vinod Sawant.
But in an apparent violation of rules,Dutts family wife Manyata,sister Priya Dutt and brothers-in-law Owen Roncon and Kumar Gaurav was allowed to stay with him inside the special court even after he had surrendered.
Minutes later,Dutts friend and Congress MLA Baba Siddiqui was ushered into the court.
But relatives of other convicts were not as lucky. My brother Essa also surrendered today. They made me leave the court, said Sulieman Memon,brother of Essa Abdul Razak Memon,a life convict.
Faisal,the son of another life convict Sharif Abdul Gaffor Parker alias Dadabhai (80),who suffered a cardiac arrest on Wednesday,had come to court Thursday to furnish his fathers medical papers. He was also forced to leave the court room. I do not even know if the court has been informed about my fathers health, Faisal said.
When Faisal tried to negotiate with the police constables outside the court room,a constable pushed him out. Faisal had to leave with no clarity on what had happened inside the court.
Lawyers and litigants who came to court were also forced to leave. Some of them even got into heated arguments with the police. Why should we leave the court for a convict? We are here for our work and it is during working hours. How can we be made to leave the court? asked a lawyer.
The anger against the measures came as special Judge G A Sanap chided the police for bad coordination and severe mismanagement at the court which saw chaotic scenes as Dutt arrived to surrender.
Police officers have no sense, Sanap said,reprimanding the police for not being able to handle the crowd that had gathered outside.
Dutts family stayed with him inside the court room until 6 pm. Two family members can be allowed with the convict, his lawyer Subhash Jadhav said.
But other lawyers said there was no such provision in law.
Dutt was subsequently taken to the Arthur Road jail from where he was likely to be shifted toYerawada jail in Pune late in the night.
Dutt had spent three months in Yerwada in 2007 before being released on bail.