March 21, 2013 8:39:08 am
In a huge setback to actor Sanjay Dutt,the Supreme Court on Thursday refused to release him on probation for his involvement in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case and sentenced him to five years in jail.
Dutt has already served around 18 months in custody for illegal possession of arms,allegedly from the same consignment of ammunition used in carrying out the massacre that led to killing of 257 persons while leaving more than 700 others injured.
Best of Express Premium
Dutt had been sentenced to six years in jail by the designated TADA court in 2006. He has now been ordered to surrender within four weeks to serve the remaining sentence.
The Supreme Court said the circumstances and nature of the offence was so serious that Sanjay Dutt cannot be released on probation.
The apex court has asked Sanjay Dutt to surrender within four weeks.
While delivering its verdict,the apex court said that the minimum sentence under the Arms Act is five years and that it cannot go under this under any circumstance.
The actor,who was in Mumbai at the time of the verdict, will now have to serve three and half years in jail.
“Sanjay Dutt is a strong man and will fight for himself,” said his lawyer Satish Maneshinde.
“I expected mercy but that did not happen,” his lawyer further added.
“He will have to serve another three-and-a-half year sentence. We had prepared him for the same,” Maneshinde told reporters.
“We will wait for a copy of the Supreme Court judgement and then decide the further course of action,” he said. “He is a strong man and will fight back.”
Sanjay Dutt’s sister,Congress MP Priya Dutt,breaks down at the Supreme Court after the hearing.
In its initial reaction,Bollywood luminaries are upset and unhappy with the Supreme Court’s verdict. They said that all the prime accused are at large and Sanjay Dutt didn’t have any direct or indirect role in it.
After the verdict,Mahesh Bhatt tweets: Heart Broken: Just heard that Sanjay Dutt has to go to jail for 5 years. I expected mercy! Alas it did not happen.
Bhatt added,”Maybe a miracle can happen… Sanjay has option of a review petition.”
The veteran director added there is no way to defend his silly act… Sanjay realises if you do things like this you will face consequences. However,the least we expected from the Supreme Court was that he would be let off.
“I’m sure Sanjay will take this in his stride,” said Bhatt.
Other Bollywood luminaries have reacted and said Sanjay Dutt has a heart of gold and he is no threat to society.
Senior lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani said the Supreme Court has done its best by reducing Sanjay Dutt’s sentencing to five years.
The actor was convicted in November 2006 for illegal possession of a 9 mm pistol and an AK-56 rifle but was acquitted of more serious charges of criminal conspiracy under the now defunct anti-terror TADA.
After a marathon 10-month-long hearing beginning November 1,2011,the Supreme Court had in August 2012 reserved its verdict on appeals and cross-appeals in the 1993 Mumbai serial terror bombing case in which 257 people were killed and 713 were injured.
During the hearing,the Bench had for the first time used laptops in the court to peruse the voluminous documents and record of the case and the submissions of various counsel.
On March 12,1993,Mumbai was rocked by a series of blasts,engineered by fundamentalist elements,which also damaged property worth over Rs 27 crore. (With PTI inputs)
🗞 Subscribe Now: Get Express Premium to access our in-depth reporting, explainers and opinions 🗞️
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.