Maharashtra Advocate General today told the Bombay High Court that no norms were flouted in granting remission to actor Sanjay Dutt but if the court felt otherwise, “it can send Dutt back to jail”.
The actor had served a five year sentence for his role in the 1993 Mumbai blast case after he was convicted under the Arms Act by a special TADA court. According to the jail authorities, Dutt’s conduct in the jail was good hence, he was given a remission of over eight months from his sentence and he came out of the prison earlier than stated.
Although almost all jail inmates are given such remissions, the petitioners believed that the prison authorities had been too kind to Dutt. A public interest litigation (PIL) was then filed by a convict Pradeep Bhalekar. Bhalekar’s lawyer Nitin Satpute pointed out in the Bombay High Court that there were two affidavits filed by the state in the case, one by the Yerwada Jail superintendent and the other by the Advocate General. In both the affidavits the dates on which Dutt had left the jail for his parole and furlough leaves were different.
The division bench of Justice RM Savant and Justice Sadhna Jadhav also pointed out that within two months from the date Dutt surrendered in May 2013, he had moved two applications for parole and furlough and both the applications were granted. “Did the divisional commissioner not inquire? Isn’t it the practice that only one leave is granted at a time?,” asked the bench.
The bench added that it was not singling out Sanjay Dutt “but the system has to be streamlined”.
Dutt was first placed under arrest in 1993 when the investigative agencies realised that he had handled some of the lethal weapons that were transported to Mumbai for the blast. He was later let out on bail.
After the Supreme Court decision, Dutt surrendered and spent his time in jail during which he had taken various furlough and parole leaves. The court has granted two weeks to the Advocate General to explain what constitutes good conduct and also mention the reasons for granting the frequent paroles and furlough and remission to Dutt.
21 Feb 2019
22 Feb 2019