A social activist has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis opposing any decision for early release of actor Sanjay Dutt, who is serving jail sentence in a 1993 blasts case for possessing illegal weapon, saying it will set a 'wrong precedent'.
Dutt is likely to be released from jail next year, nearly three-and-a-half months before completing his sentence, as he is likely to benefit from all 105 days of remittance for good behaviour during his stay at Yerwada jail. However, the proposal granting him the remittance is yet to be cleared by the Maharashtra government.
"I have written a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and have requested him not to show any leniency to the actor. This will set a wrong precedent for high-profile criminals who would also want the same preferential treatment from the government," activist Pradeep Bhalekar said.
"Rather, I have urged the Chief Minister to show some sympathy to thousands of undertrial prisoners who have no backing to fight their cases and are languishing in jails," he said.
Bhalekar, who runs a city-based organisation named Samajik Karyakarta Sanrakshan Samiti, has been following the issues of prisoners, especially undertrails, in the state with an aim to fight for their right to justice.
Dutt was sentenced to a five-year imprisonment after he was convicted in the 1993 blasts case for possessing an illegal weapon. He had already served 18 months before the verdict was pronounced. The 56-year-old actor is now completing the remaining prison term of 42 months and is lodged at the Yerawada Central Jail in Pune.
"I went through some reports that government is mulling to release Sanjay Dutt from jail nearly three-and-half months before completing his sentence, because of his good behaviour during jail term," Bhalekar said.
"If it happens, it would be a black day for the state," he said.
Bhalekar has written a nine-page letter, attaching the 1993 serial blasts' pictures and also details of some RTI queries made by him pertaining to undertrial prisoners.
"According to an RTI reply received by me, there were 27,740 prisoners across 57 jails in the state by March 2014, which included 18,499 undertrials.
"Out of these 18,499 undertrials, 994 are women. Why is the Chief Minister not doing anything for these people? Just because they are common men and women?" he asked.