The Maharashtra government informed the Bombay High Court on Friday that not even for a single minute or second was Sanjay Dutt out of jail in breach of law while serving his sentence in the 1993 bomb blasts case.
Appearing for the state, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said, “Not even for a single minute or second was he (Dutt) out of jail in breach of law. We (the state) can account for every single minute that he was permitted to stay out of jail. We follow a strict standard procedure for granting parole for every inmate in the state.”
The state’s submissions came while a bench of Justice S C Dharamadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre was hearing a PIL challenging Dutt’s early release from jail, and questioning the frequent paroles granted to him when he was in jail in the blasts case.
During a previous hearing last year, another bench of the High Court had noted that within two months into his sentence, his request for furlough and parole were forwarded by the superintendent of jail for consideration. “This was not something you found otherwise,” the court had said then.
However, Kumbhakoni told the court on Monday that this concession was on account of certain medical emergencies.
“This was on account of his daughter’s illness and of his wife needing a medical surgery,” Kumbhakoni said. “In cases of medical emergencies, we take between 24 hours and eight days to decide on applications of parole,” he said. “In Dutt’s case, we sent a police officer to interview the doctor who was to perform the surgery to ensure that this was a genuine case,” he said.
The bench has now directed the state to submit an affidavit detailing the steps followed while granting parole and furlough to an average inmate. The court has posted the matter for hearing on February 1.
Dutt had spent a little over a year and four months in jail as an undertrial and about two-and-a-half years in jail as a convict, between June 2013 and February 2016. During the above period, however, he remained out of jail for over five months on parole and furlough.