Opposition parties in Maharashtra have accused the State government of preferential treatment in granting a one-month parole to Bollywood actor and 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Sanjay Dutt. The actor was granted parole on Friday on the grounds that his wife Maanyata was unwell and needed to undergo surgery.
This is the second time in three months that the actor — who is the brother of Congress MP Priya Dutt — has been granted leave from the Yerawada jail. Mr. Dutt has been serving the remaining period of his two-year sentence there since May 2013. In October, he got a month’s leave on grounds of ill health. However, the same month, the parole application of another 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Zaibunissa Kazi was turned down. She had asked for leave to visit her ailing mother. On Saturday morning, a group of activists from the Republican Party of India staged a protest outside the jail. “This is a blatant misuse of power by the Maharashtra government. It is clear that Sanjay Dutt is getting preferential treatment,” said Manoj Gaikwad, an RPI activist and Sangharsh Samiti volunteer.
In Mumbai, BJP leader Gopinath Munde demanded the order be reversed. “How can Sanjay Dutt be given parole after such a short gap? The parole should be cancelled and there should be action against the officer who cleared it,” he said.
Mr. Munde said the authorities needed to check if Mr. Dutt’s wife was genuinely unwell. However, Maanyata Dutt’s doctor Ajay Chaughule from the Global Hospital told The Hindu that a tumour had been detected in her liver.