Actor Sanjay Dutt, serving the remainder of his five-year term in Yerwada jail in Pune, is set to walk free on February 27, nearly 103 days before the end of his term, on account of “good conduct”.
According to officials in Maharashtra’s Home Department, the decision to grant him remission was taken by the Jail Superintendent, and the government had no role in the matter of remissions.
“Some persons are creating an impression that Dutt has been granted special remission for early release. But no such special remission is granted to him. He has got other remissions which other convicts generally get,” said Additional DG (Prisons) B.K. Upadhyay.
‘Dutt not at fault’
The government also clarified that Dutt was not at fault for reporting two days late after his 14-day furlough in December, 2014. Senior officials of the Home Department said a government inquiry found the actor not guilty as he had received the extension order late. “He received the order of extension from our end late, and in that case our probe didn’t find him guilty,” said an official of the Home Department. The government had instead suspended two officials for negligence.
Sources said the decision to grant remission, however, was cleared by Minister of Home Ranjit Patil, who did not clarify whether he had given his clearance to the report of the Jail Superintendent.
Mr. Patil later told journalists that an application for early release had been filed by Dutt’s lawyer with the Governor, and the government was asked for its opinion.
The actor was convicted in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case for possession of illegal weapons.
He was granted bail after 18 months in jail. In 2013, the Supreme Court, while sentencing him to a five-year term, ordered him to complete the remaining 42 months of his term.
This second stint has been surrounded by controversy owing to frequent paroles granted by the Pune Divisional Commissioner and generous extensions resulting in the actor spending nearly 146 days out of prison.