New Delhi: Actor Sanjay Dutt has been given a five-year sentence by the Supreme Court for illegal weapons possession in a case linked to the 1993 serial blasts that killed 257 people in Mumbai. The Supreme Court today said that the circumstances and nature of offence were so serious that the 53-year-old actor cannot be released on probation.
"Whatever is the judgment of the court I will respect it. I want all to pray for me. God is great," Mr Dutt said.
The court today ordered Mr Dutt to surrender within four weeks on the charge of possessing three automatic rifles and a pistol that had been supplied to him by men subsequently convicted in the bombings. (Read: 10-point cheat-sheet in the case).
Mr Dutt's sister Priya Dutt, an MP from Mumbai, broke down after the verdict. The actor, who was in jail for 16 months between 1994 and 1995 and for a few weeks again in 2007, will now have to serve over three years years in jail.
Mr Dutt has maintained he knew nothing about the bomb plot and that he asked for the guns to protect his family after receiving threats during sectarian riots in Mumbai. (Read: How a gun changed Sanjay Dutt's life)
The Supreme Court today observed that evidence and materials perused by the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) Court in 2007 against Mr Dutt was correct. (See case timeline)
In his confession upon his arrest in 1993, which he later retracted, the actor had said that mafia don Abu Salem visited his home in January that year with Samir Hingora and Hanif Kadawala, proprietors of Magnum Video and alleged close associates of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
The Supreme Court today confirmed the death sentence of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon in the case and commuted the death sentence of 10 others. (Read) While passing its verdict, the court said the "management and conspiracy of the blasts was done by Dawood Ibrahim'' and that Pakistan's intelligence agency, ISI, was involved in the blasts. The court also commuted the death sentence of the 10 other convicts to life imprisonment today.