Mumbai: The Maharashtra government told the Bombay high court on Thursday that it had not flouted any rules while remitting actor Sanjay Dutt’s sentence in the 1993 blasts case.
If the court disagrees, and detects a mistake, it could order for Dutt to be sent back to jail. The court noted that Dutt surrendered in May 2013 and filed applications seeking to be released on furlough and parole in July, which were confirmed.
A division bench of Justice Rajendra Savant and Justice Sadhana Jahav was hearing a PIL filed by Pune resident Pradeep Bhalekar, who alleged that the state government had favoured Dutt with an early release. During the last hearing, the state government filed a report about the furlough, parole and remission given to Dutt.
On July 31, 2007, the TADA court in Mumbai sentenced Dutt to six years of rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act and imposed a fine of `25,000 on him for possessing an AK-56 in a notified area. In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling, but reduced the sentence to five years.
The actor surrendered in May that year to serve the remainder of his sentence, and was released from prison in February 2016. During his imprisonment, he was granted parole of 90 days in December 2013 and again for 30 days later.
On Thursday, the court observed that Dutt had been granted furlough and parole at the same time, which is contrary to the law. As per the law, either one can be granted at a time.
Advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni made a statement before the court stating, “It (the government) has not flouted any rules while granting remission to Dutt but if the court feels so, it can send him back to jail.”
However, stating that the court did not want to set the ‘clock back in time’, Justice Savant said, “We are not for a moment suggesting that he (Dutt) should be sent back to jail. But we only want such issues to be streamlined so that in future no questions are raised.”...