Yerawada Central Jail in Pune was home to panic last week, when a spectacled cobra was found slithering near the cell holding convicted actor Sanjay Dutt. Luckily, some inmates happened to spot the reptile and immediately called a snake catcher.
A jail official said Sanjay Dutt was both shocked and relieved when he learnt that the snake caught outside his cell was a spectacled cobra
The incident occurred last Wednesday (May 13) at around noon when Dutt was in his cell, busy making paper bags. Speaking to mid-day on the condition of anonymity, a jail officer from the Yerawada prison said, “Dutt’s cell is near the Phasi yard in our prison.
He has been given a daily target of making 100 paper bags and, on that day, he was busy doing the same. Inmates tasked with ironing clothes also work near his cell. These people happened to spot the snake near Dutt’s cell and raised an alarm.”
A snake catcher was immediately called and he came and caught the five-foot snake. The jail officer further said that Dutt was unaware of the events unfolding outside his cell and was alerted only because of the crowd gathered there. This isn’t the first time a slithery visitor has entered the prison. The jail official said snakes can be seen moving about in the area during summer and monsoon.
“We initially thought it was a non-venomous snake, but the snake catcher told us it was a spectacled cobra. Dutt was both shocked and relieved on hearing this,” the official said. The prison official claimed Dutt, apart from his making paper bags, “chants the names of gods, or writes letters to his wife and fans.”
“We have a community radio station in our prison, in which Dutt has done shows as a radio jockey twice. He has also assisted three other prisoners who work on a show on counselling,” the official told mid-day. In 2007, the actor was convicted by the TADA court in Mumbai in the 1993 bomb blasts case.
In March 2013, the Supreme Court upheld his conviction and sentenced him to five years in prison, but with 18 months of time served in jail during the trial counted as part of the punishment. This meant Dutt had to stay in jail for the remainder of the 42 months, beginning from April 2013.