Mumbai: Sanjay Dutt
spent the first night of his 42-month prison term at Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail yesterday. From here, he is expected to be moved to Pune's Yerawada Jail to complete his sentence. Sources say paperwork and formalities at Arthur Road might delay his transfer till tomorrow.
Mr Dutt has been convicted in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case for illegal possession of weapons, including an AK 56 rifle. In March this year, the Supreme Court upheld his conviction but reduced a trial court sentence of six years to five years. The actor now has to serve 42 months in jail as he has already served 18 months 20 years ago, part of it at the Yerawada Jail. (Case timeline)
Mr Dutt surrendered at a special TADA court yesterday after the court rejected his review petition on May 10. His lawyer told the court yesterday that he would file a curative petition on the actor's behalf.
The filmstar came to the TADA court accompanied by his wife Maanyata and sister Priya Dutt, a Congress parliamentarian. Dressed in a white kurta and jeans, he had a red tilak on his forehead. There was chaos at the court as hundreds of people, including cameramen, crowded his car. The actor was able to get out and make his way into the courtroom only after about 20 minutes and much difficulty.
Before arriving in court, Mr Dutt visited the famous Siddhivinayak temple in the city. All through the morning, many members of the film fraternity, which has stood steadfast by the actor, visited him.
The police and jail authorities have promised adequate security for Mr Dutt, who had claimed this week that he had received threats from "fundamentalist groups". The celebrity convict is expected to be lodged in what is known as the "Anda cell" at the Pune jail, which is egg-shaped. Half of it is sunk into the ground and is considered one the most secure cells in the prison.
The court has allowed the actor to get home-made food delivered to him and has agreed to his appeal to be provided with a thin mattress and pillow and medicines for a month. After that, the jail authorities will decide whether these allowances will be continued.
But the court rejected Mr Dutt's request to be allowed to smoke electronic cigarettes in prison. The judge advised him to quit smoking instead.