Not just the film fraternity, Sanjay Dutt has found support from political circles as well. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has come out in support of the beleaguered actor. Speaking to reporters in Akola, Raj Thackeray said "In these 20 years the entire nation has cheered and applauded Sanjay Dutt and 20 years after the incident he is convicted and sentenced to five years in prison."
"Whether he is guilty or not I do not know. The Supreme Court has considered him guilty according to the laws in the country but I cannot digest the fact that this case has taken 20 years and while Sanjay Dutt is being punished those who are actually guilty are out of the country. Be it Dawood Ibrahim or Tiger Memon they are all out of the country. When will they be brought to book? They are happily living abroad," Raj Thackeray added.
Sanjay Dutt was sentenced to five years in prison for illegally possessing arms by the Supreme Court on Thursday. While Mr Dutt does have the option of filing a review petition and asking the Governor to pardon him, he faces the prospect of going back to jail. But many have taken a view that Mr Dutt should have been shown lenience given the fact that he has been to jail earlier and that he is now a reformed person. In 2006, Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) charges against the actor were dropped and he was convicted under the Arms Act.
Raj Thackeray was with the Shiv Sena when actor-MP Sunil Dutt, Sanjay Dutt's father approached Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray to help secure his son's release after he was arrested in 1993.
Raj Thackeray refrained from commenting on the verdict itself but questioned the delay in arriving at a verdict in what is considered the first serial blasts and terror attack on the country. He said, "There is a Supreme Court verdict so the Supreme Court will decide once a review petition is filed. You cannot forgive those who were responsible for the bomb blasts. Sanjay Dutt's case is different. These are two different cases."
While the Shiv Sena has not commented on the case so far, Mr Dutt will be hoping that the political fraternity will be as supportive of him as the film fraternity. Mr Dutt's sister and Congress MP Priya Dutt will also be hoping that her party will take a sympathetic view of her brother's issue.