Mumbai: Sanjay Dutt was treated like any ordinary convict at Pune's Yerwada Jail, the Maharashtra government has said, defending his early release from prison last year. The Bollywood actor - sentenced to five years for illegal possession of arms - was freed in February 2016, eight months and 16 days before he completed his jail term.
- Sanjay Dutt was out of prison for 256 days or 8 months and 16 days
- Mr Dutt was convicted in 2013 by the Supreme Court of acquiring guns
- He was freed eight months and 16 days before he completed his jail term
The state government told the Bombay High Court in an affidavit today that the actor showed "good behaviour and discipline" and completed all tasks assigned by to him by prison authorities satisfactorily and his conduct earned him an early release. It said the early remission was in keeping with the law and has listed the number of days Mr Dutt spent in jail and those outside, including parole and furlough.
Mr Dutt, 57, spent a total about 1,570 days - 16 months as an undertrial and two and a half years as a convict. The affidavit says between June 2013 and February 2016, the actor was out of prison for 256 days (8 months and 16 days).
The court, which is hearing a petition alleging that the actor was given VIP treatment as a convict, has asked the government to give details of the work Mr Dutt did in prison to merit an early release. It has two weeks to respond.
Last month, the high court had asked the Maharashtra government whether Mr Dutt had indeed been allowed to leave jail more than once and spend over 100 days outside. When did jail authorities get the time to assess his conduct when he was out on parole half the time, a judge had asked.
Mr Dutt was convicted in 2013 by the Supreme Court of acquiring illegal guns from men found guilty of the serial bombings in Mumbai in 1993, in which more than 250 people were killed.
In 2007, the actor was cleared of conspiracy charges in the Mumbai serial blasts, but was found guilty of illegal possession of an AK-56 rifle and a pistol, which he claimed he required to protect his family during a period of rioting in the city.
The actor spent 18 months in prison, but was released on bail till the Supreme Court ordered him back to the Yerwada prison for the remaining 42 months of his sentence.