A day ahead of actor Sanjay Dutt’s release from Yerawada jail in Pune, a social worker has yet again moved the Bombay High Court stating his release was reflective of the inequality in the treatment of prisoners. The PIL also states that the actor has been given preferential treatment throughout his term in prison.
Pradeep Bhalekar, chairperson of Samajik Karyakarta Saurakhan Samiti, filed a public interest litigation (PIL) on Wednesday pointing out there are 27,740 others prisoners in the state who deserve to be released on the same grounds as Dutt. The petition also states that the actor, who has spent 42 months behind bars, has already benefitted a lot because of furlough and parole.
Mr Bhalekar had also written a similar letter to the acting chief justice V K Tahilaramani on January 7, 2016, a day after the jail superintendent announced that Dutt would be freed on February 25.
The actor was arrested in April 1993 and later convicted for illegal possession of an automatic assault rifle, a part of cache of arms and ammunition that landed ahead of the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts in which 257 people were killed. According to the Maharashtra Home Department, he was given remission (reduction of sentence) on account of good conduct and has spent 18 months in jail.
The PIL stated that “The remission granted to Dutt is wrong and illegal.” Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Nitin Satpute said, “What is the good behaviour and conduct that has been held as a ground for granting him remission and reducing his sentence? What about all the other convicts, especially in petty offences, who are rotting in jail. They have also filed applications seeking remission but there has been no order on those.”
The PIL will be mentioned before an appropriate bench on Thursday.
Meanwhile, theYerawada Jail Superintendent U T Pawar, told PTI that “Dutt will be released tomorrow (February 25) in the morning around 10 AM in keeping with the normal procedures as applied to every prisoner who has completed his sentence and jail term.”
Mr Pawar refuted allegations that the jail authorities had given Dutt a special treatment during his stay in view of his celebrity status. “His remission was worked out in compliance with jail rules and he was treated like any other convict,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)