Two days after the Bombay High Court ordered Maharashtra government to justify its decision to release Sanjay Dutt from the prison early, a media report has surfaced saying that the state’s prison department has stated it followed the government’s rules and didn’t provide the Bollywood star any privilege. However, a senior police official has said no statement has been released to media in the Sanjay Dutt case. “We will submit our stand to the High Court,” the official said.
The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Maharashtra government to justify the decision to release Dutt prior to the completion of his sentence. The actor was released in February 2016, eight months before his sentence in the 1993 serial blast case was supposed to end, on account of good behaviour. A division bench of justices RM Sawant and Sadhana Jadhav was hearing a public interest litigation by Pune resident Pradeep Bhalekar challenging the regular paroles and furloughs granted to Dutt when he was serving his sentence.
The court then directed the state government to file an affidavit stating what parameters were considered and the procedures followed while deciding that Dutt deserved leniency. According to the report, the prison department has stated in its response, “Sanjay Dutt’s release as per Maha Govt rules; no special treatment given to the actor.”
Additional Director General of Police, BK Upadhyay, however, has refuted the media report saying that no statement from the prison department has been issued yet. “Since matter is in Honourable HC, prison deptt will submit its reply in the court.No statement in this regard has been issued as the matter is subjudice,” he told reporters.
The court will further hear the matter after one week. Dutt, who was on bail during the trial, had surrendered in May 2013 after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction. During the investigation and the marathon trial, the actor spent 18 months in jail.
On July 31, 2007, the TADA court in Mumbai sentenced him to six years’ rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000. In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling but reduced the sentence to five years following which he surrendered to serve the remainder of his sentence. During his imprisonment, the 56-year-old actor was granted parole of 90 days in December 2013 and later again for 30 days.