Can send Sanjay Dutt back to jail: Maharashtra government

Sanjay Dutt's Yerwada Jail release: Bombay HC asks Maharashtra ...

Today, judges asked the government to furnish a new statement explaining what criteria of "good behaviour" were applied to the actor. "After going through these rules the jail superintendent and the Director General of Prison (DIG) decide conduct of prisoner is good or bad", he explained. 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.

A division bench of justices R M Sawant and Sadhana Jadhav was on Monday 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. During the last hearing, the state government filed a report about the furlough, parole and remission given to Dutt. We are not for a moment suggesting that he go back to jail.

But even while doing time, Mr Dutt was allowed to leave jail on multiple occasions, adding upto more than 100 free days, which raised concerns and criticism of whether he was being given VIP treatment.

"Dutt got furlough first for his wife's illness, then parole on grounds of his daughter's illness. But if the HC finds that favours were given to the prisoner while granting the remission, then it can direct him to be sent to the jail".

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Mr Dutt, 57, was convicted in 2013 by the Supreme Court of acquiring illegal guns from the men convicted of the serial bombings in Mumbai in 1993 in which more than 250 people were killed. "We have seen cases where the convict's mother is ill and on her death bed but still parole or furlough is not given", Justice Jadhav said.

Although nearly all jail inmates are given such remissions, the petitioners believed that the prison authorities had been too kind to Dutt. The actor spent about 18 months in jail between 1994 and 1995 during the investigation and the marathon trial. 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.

Dutt's repeated paroles during the imprisonment had made the court further suspicious about the decision. In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling, but reduced the sentence to five years.


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