The Maharashtra Government rejected Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt's furlough extension; ordered him to go back to Yerawada Central Jail, where he has currently been serving his sentence. The actor's lawyer Rizwan Merchant has confirmed that he would surrender today.
Sources in the home department said Dutt's application, which was pending for approval was rejected after uproar over alleged special treatment given to the actor, who is currently serving a jail term under the Arms Act. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis intervened on Friday asking authorities to decide the issue as per rules.
Sanjay Dutt. Pic/Yogen Shah
The row started when Sanjay Dutt returned home Thursday from Yerwada prison in Pune after enjoying a furlough since December 24. Minister of State for Home Ram Shinde too courted controversy when he made some statements, which created the impression that the government too supported Dutt. Shinde has denied making any such remarks.
The Mumbai Police had cleared the extension on Friday, but prison department (DIG prisons) rejected the application. Police officials reached Sanjay Dutt's residence to issue him the directive. Sources add the actor would leave for Pune anytime soon.
Sanjay Dutt's lawyer Rizwan Merchant said, "Yes, Dutt's furlough has been rejected and he is surrending to the jail today. Even on the day he returned from Pune after Home Minister Ram Shinde said that he need not surrender to the jail as decision on his application was pending. Dutt before returning home submitted a letter to the jail authorities stating it and even mentioned that he was ready to surrender on that day.''
Dutt has stated in his furlough application that he wanted to seek medical attention for a recurring knee problem. His other lawyer Hitesh Jain said, "the authorities have told us Mr Dutt will get medical treatment in Pune."
Earlier, Dutt was released on furlough in October 2013 for two weeks on health reasons, followed by a similar leave in December 2013 to tend to his ailing wife, Maanyata, attracting charges of favouritism.
Dutt's latest furlough saw him attending a special show of the latest Aamir Khan megahit, "PK", and celeb parties, while exhibiting his new set of eight abs built up in prison.
In February last year, the Bombay High Court had commented on the diligence in granting the actor's requests for furlough which was not visible in case of other convicts who applied for leave.
Sanjay Dutt was convicted in 2007 for illegal possession of an AK-56 assault rifle during the 1992-1993 Mumbai communal conflagration before the March 12, 1993 serial bomb blasts in the city and sentenced to six years jail. The Supreme Court had upheld the conviction in 2013 but reduced the sentence to five years, less time already served.
He surrendered on May 16, 2013, and was moved to the high-security jail in Pune to serve the remainder of his 42-month sentence.