The Maharashtra government on Monday justified its decision to grant remission of eight months to actor Sanjay Dutt in the 1993 bomb blasts case, stating in the Bombay High Court that it was done as per rules and no special treatment was given to him.
Dutt was earlier sentenced to five years in jail for possession of arms, which were a part of the consignment used in the 1993 blasts. The actor, who was on bail during the trial, had surrendered in May 2013 after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction.
Dutt was let out in February 2016, eight months early, on account of his good conduct while in Pune's Yerwada prison. The government submitted a report before a bench of Justices R M Savant and Sadhana Jadhav, saying Dutt was granted remission on account of his "good behaviour, discipline and participation in various institutional activities such as physical training, educational programmes and for performing the allotted work."
The report was submitted in response to a public interest litigation filed by Pune resident Pradeep Bhalekar, questioning the regular paroles and furloughs granted to Dutt when he was serving his sentence. Bhalekar, in his petition, alleged that Dutt was given undue favour by the prisons department by granting him remission.
"The Maharashtra Prisons (Remission System) Rules provide for remission of up to three days per month for good behaviour, discipline and so on. In the present matter at hand, as per the rules, the accused (Dutt) is entitled for 256 days remission which comes to eight months and 16 days," the report said.
It also said that on October 19, 2015, an application was filed by Dutt seeking sanction for special remission which was rejected by the prisons department on December 15, 2015. However, the same was later allowed considering the accused's "conduct and behaviour" and Dutt was released from jail on February 25, 2016, the report said. The high court perused the report and posted the petition for further hearing after two weeks.
During the investigation and the marathon trial, Dutt spent 18 months in jail. 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.
In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling but reduced the sentence to five years following which he surrendered to serve the remainder of his sentence. During his imprisonment, he was granted parole for 90 days in December 2013 and for 30 days later.
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