Furlough extension denied, but Sanjay Dutt still gets to stay home

Jan 09, 2015, 07:56 IST | Vinay Dalvi and Sailee Dhayalkar

Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who was on his way to Pune to surrender to the Yerwada jail authorities, has returned home following a deemed extension that has been granted to him

The drama around actor Sanjay Dutt’s furloughs continues. The 55-year-old went back home after reporting to Yerawada jail at the end of his 14-day furlough, apparently after hearing Minister Of State (MoS) for Home, Ram Shinde, say on TV that he need not surrender since his application for extension of furlough was still pending.

Actor Sanjay Dutt went to Yerawada jail yesterday and returned within an hour. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Actor Sanjay Dutt went to Yerawada jail yesterday and returned within an hour. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Dutt was granted furlough on December 24 and he was supposed to surrender yesterday. He had applied for an extension of two weeks on grounds of illness, but had not received any reply to his application. Accompanied by his lawyer, Rizwan Merchant, Dutt went to the Pune prison at 4 pm yesterday and returned in an hour’s time.

“My client went to jail but we saw home minister Ram Shinde telling some television channels that he (Dutt) should not surrender till his furlough application is pending with us (home ministry). We gave a written letter telling the jail authorities that we are ready to surrender if they ask,” the advocate said. However, jail authorities said they have not received any such message.

“Dutt did not visit the jail and we have no communication from anybody about it,” said Yogesh Desai, Yerawada jail superintendent, adding that they would write to Dutt after the end of 28 days, the mandated period by the law by which a prisoner on furlough is supposed to return to jail. Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) Meeran Borwankar said she was not aware of the matter.

Shaky ground
Jail authorities also said Dutt had applied for an extension to his furlough on grounds of illness and that they had written to the Khar police to verify whether the actor was actually keeping ill. However, the Khar police said they have not received any such request.

Sources in the police department were quick to point out that such delays in taking decisions for parole applications will benefit Dutt. The actor had surrendered on May 16, 2013, at the Arthur Road jail and was later taken to the Yerawada facility at the end of May. “Dutt has been out of jail 40 per cent of the time.

There was an inquiry into the granting of his parole. Parole laws will need an amendment because Dutt has taken full benefit from them. Even the Bombay High Court has questioned the police as to why Dutt is so special,” said a police officer.

Noted lawyer Y P Singh told mid-day, “If no decision was taken regarding extension of furlough till the deadline of surrender which was today (January 8) Dutt should have been in jail and the extension application considered as cancelled. But, because this is Dutt, everything is taken for granted.”

The actor was convicted in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case for illegally possessing an AK-56 rifle and destroying it. Dutt was convicted on March 21, 2013, by the Supreme Court, which sentenced him to five years’ rigorous imprisonment.

MoS for Home Ram Shinde didn’t answer phone calls. He had courted controversy recently, when he claimed he had asked the police to probe the content of Aamir Khan-starrer PK, which Hindu religious organisations claimed hurt their sentiments. CM Devendra Fadnavis had to clarify that no such inquiry would be ordered, since the Censor Board had already cleared the film.

March 21, 2013
The day Sanjay Dutt was convicted by the SC, which sentenced him to five years’ rigorous imprisonment 

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