Sanjay Dutt gets reprieve till Feb 6
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt was Thursday given time till Feb 6 to surrender before the special court here that had convicted him for possession of arms and ammunition in the 1993 Mumbai serial bombings case.
While hearing the actor's application seeking to invoke the Probation of Offenders Act, the special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Preventive) Act (TADA) also granted him time till Feb 6 to continue arguments seeking probation.
The act allows a convict to evade imprisonment on grounds of good behaviour and conduct.
Dutt's counsel V.R. Manohar argued that the actor clearly qualified for being let off on probation because of unblemished conduct during the 14 years of bail.
The TADA court had in November convicted Dutt under sections 3 and section 7 of the Arms Act, but absolved him of charges of terror conspiracy that led to the March 12, 1993 serial bombings that killed at least 257 people.
Dutt, who faces between five and 10 years in jail, had been given time to surrender till Thursday on grounds that he had to fulfil his shooting commitments of his under-production films and had to take care of his family.
This was the fourth reprieve for the "Munnabhai" actor since Nov 28 when Judge P.D. Kode extended time for him to surrender till Dec 19, then for two more days and then again till Jan 18 mainly to enable the actor to be with his teenaged daughter Trishala who has come from the US.
Sanjay, who already possessed licensed pistols, had acquired the AK-56 allegedly from underworld don Abu Salem's aide Ibrahim Mussa in January 1993 as he thought he needed an automatic weapon for self-protection.
He was arrested in April that year, a month after the blasts rocked Mumbai, on the basis of the statements of Salem and Sameer Hingora arrested a few days earlier. Sanjay has spent nearly 16 months in jail in two stretches since then.
The latest among the bigwigs pleading for leniency to Sanjay were thespian Dilip Kumar and former Mumbai sheriff Nana Chudasama.