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In a surprise development, the Maharashtra government Friday decided to inquire the “repeated” furlough leave granted to incarcerated Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt.
Minister of State for Home Ram Shinde said that the decision follows reports of “preferential treatment” being extended by the jail department to the actor serving a five-year sentence under the Arms Act.
“We have information that around four-five other convicts have requested for furlough, but only Dutt has been repeatedly granted the leave. We have to find out under what law he has been granted the furlough,” Shinde told media persons here.
Since Dutt was extended the facility, then why the same was not applicable to others, he asked.
Shinde has directed the deputy inspector general (prisons) to conduct the probe and submit his report in the matter, two days after Dutt walked out on a 14-day furlough from Yerawada Central Jail in Pune.
Last year, Dutt’s furlough attracted controversy when he walked out of jail for 28 days in October on medical grounds. In December 2013, he secured another 28 days’ furlough to attend to his ailing wife Manyata, attracting charges of favouritism.
Shinde declared that if Dutt can be granted leave again and again, then the probe would reveal about other convicts who have applied for leave but denied the same. “We shall not allow this injustice to anybody. The report I have sought will not favour anybody,” he said.
Since May 2013, Dutt is serving the remainder of his five-year prison term awarded for illegal possession and destruction of arms before the Mumbai blasts of March 1993.
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In February this year, the Bombay High Court has also commented on the diligence in granting the actor’s requests for furlough which was not visible in case of other convicts who applied for leave.