Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who is serving his sentence in the Yerawada jail in a case related to the 1993 Mumbai blasts, has applied for a 14-day furlough. Sanjay Dutt has spent over 118 days out of jail, either on parole or furlough from May 2013 to May 2014. He had completed his last furlogh eight months ago and returned to Yerawada and has been behind bars since.
Sanjay Dutt, 55, is serving 42 months of his sentence from May 2013 for illegal possession of arms in a case related to the 1993 serial blasts, in which over 250 people were killed and several were wounded. He has already served 18 months of his five-year jail term.
The apparent leniency of the government in granting Sanjay Dutt repeated furlough or parole was questioned by the Bombay High Court in February this year. Citing outcry by people, the High Court had even told the government that the diligence shown in granting Dutt’s requests was not seen in cases of other convicts.
The court had also said that it was high time the rules for such relief were looked into and that there was a need for bringing in ‘radical changes’ in the Prisons Rules, 1959. Then home minister R R Patil had indicated changes in the rules which would make inmates serve additional term for paroles granted.
Yerawada Jail Superintendent, Yogesh Desai confirmed that Sanjay Dutt had applied for a 14-day furlough recently. A senior officer from the jail department said, “The application is pending with the DIG. But will be granted and he will also get a 14-day extension. I don’t see any reason why he will not apply for a parole after that. We will see what reason he cites this time.”
In the last week of September 2013, Sanjay Dutt was granted the first 14-day furlough which he had sought to treat his leg pain and which was extended for another 14 days. In December he was granted a 30-day parole which was extended twice. For the parole, he had given his wife Manyata’s ill health as the reason.
As per the rules, a furlough is a right of every convict. It is granted by jail authorities (DIG in this case) based on the report of the prisoner in jail and a report from the police. A parole is granted in case inmate has a serious family issue like illness of a direct relative or a family function to attend. Parole is granted by the divisional commissioner based on all the necessary reports on illness and police report. A furlough can be extended once and parole twice.