New Delhi: Actor Sanjay Dutt was asked by the Supreme Court today about the extent of his contact with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, wanted in India for the 1993 terror attack in Mumbai. 277 people were killed and more than 700 injured in 13 blasts across the city.
Mr Dutt was not in court today. His lawyer, Harish Salve, said that the actor had attended a dinner in Dubai hosted by Dawood before the Mumbai terror attack.
"I have only attended a dinner at Dawood's house along with two film producers which was before the blast. Other than that I do not have any relationship," said Mr Salve on behalf of the Bollywood star.
In 1993, after the blasts, Mr Dutt was arrested when he returned to Mumbai from a film shoot in Mauritius. He spent 18 months in jail before being granted conditional bail. The CBI said that before the attack, Dawood's gang members had delivered AK-56 rifles, a 9 mm pistol and grenades to his home, and that he returned these a few days later, but kept one AK-56. The investigating agency had said that the weapons given to Mr Dutt were part of the stockpile used for the Mumbai blasts.
In 2007, Mr Dutt was convicted by a Special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) court of illegally possessing a 9 mm pistol and an AK-56 rifle but was acquitted of more serious charges under the now defunct TADA law. The CBI did not challenge the acquittal. The actor was sentenced to six years jail term. He then appealed to the Supreme Court challenging his conviction, and was granted bail.
Mr Dutt's lawyer told the Supreme Court that he had been given three rifles because his family had been receiving threatening phone calls after the demolition of the Babri Masjid a few months earlier. Mr Dutt's father, Sunil, once a famous actor was a respected Congress MP in Mumbai at the time.
Mr Salve said that Mr Dutt immediately returned two of the rifles and the grenades given to him. He also asked for the AK56 that he had kept with him to be destroyed. Mr Salve said that the actor's pistol had been acquired before the blasts.