The Bombay High Court today asked the Maharashtra government to justify the decision to release Sanjay 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.
“Was the DIG, Prisons, consulted or did the jail superintendent directly send his recommendation to the governor?” Justice Sawant asked. “Also, how did the authorities assess that Dutt’s conduct was good? When did they get the time to make such assessment when he was out on parole half the time?” he asked, reported PTI.
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.
Since his release from jail, Dutt has made a comeback in films; he has already shot for Bhoomi, directed by Omung Kumar. The actor has signed two more films, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 and Malang, which will mark the directorial debut of Aarambh Singh, one of the assistant directors on Bhoomi.