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Sanjay Dutt : victim or vicious

IndiaGlitz [Thursday, February 27, 2014]

Is Sanjay Dutt using his clout as an actor and his family political background to get VVIP status in his parole or the political parties are targeting the actor for their political mileage? Will leave it up to you to decide.

Nevertheless b-town actor Sanjay Dutt convicted in a 1993 blasts case recent parole is under scanner from the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) the High Court yesterday criticized the Maharashtra Government  for repeatedly granting parole extension to actor Sanjay Dutt, while other convicts are deprived of the same amnesty.

A division bench of Justices N H Patil and V L Achaliya accused the state for applying casual approach in Dutt's case while hearing a public interest litigation yesterday which alleges that the government is giving preferential treatment to Dutt.

The court on Tuesday directed the state chief secretary to form a committee to suggest changes to rules related screening of parole and furlough applications. The committee will comprise officials from the home, law and judiciary departments, representatives of jail administration and other officers.

It must be recalled that Dutt was sentenced to prison in 2007 for acquiring weapons from men convicted for the 1993 serial blasts. He had appealed against the verdict, but in March last year, the Supreme Court ruled that he should serve the remainder of his five-year sentence.

He was first granted temporary release from Pune's Yerwada Central Jail on October 2 last year on medical grounds. The furlough was later extended by 14 days and he returned to prison on October 30. Dutt was again released on 30-day parole in December after he cited his wife Manyata's poor health. Manyata has been diagnosed with tuberculosis. The parole was later extended for another 30 days. Last week, the state gave him 30 more days to attend to his wife. Of the 307 days he is supposed to serve in jail, Dutt has been given a reprieve of 118 days. The public prosecutor told the High Court that proper procedures were followed in granting the Bollywood star parole. The prosecutor also said that that a committee of three medical experts from JJ Hospital was formed to determine if Manyata was suffering from tuberculosis. The division bench, however, said: "Would you normally have such a panel appointed for another prisoner? Would you not agree this kind of preference is not shown to other convicts?"

Justice Achaliya, who read the committee's report, said: "The report says she (Manyata) is suffering from TB and requires treatment at home and that she may require surgery in future. There are cases where convicts suffering from cancer and other life-threatening diseases are not granted parole." The court said that the discretionary powers to grant reprieve to convicts were not being used properly. "Radical change in the rules and machinery processing (parole applications) is required," it said.

Advocate Nikhil Choudhry, representing petitioner Tushar Pabale, said that the police often took months to respond to parole requests of other prisoners, which defeated the entire purpose. "One convict had to approach the court after he was refused the application form," he said. On Tuesday, the court also criticised the state for demanding only a Rs 5,000 cash bond from Dutt while giving ranting parole. "We have heard cases where very poor convicts are granted parole on Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 bond. But here parole was granted for merely Rs 5,000," it said.

The state has been given four weeks to file a report on steps taken to improve the process for giving temporarily releasing prisoners. An insider adds that Sanjay Dutt did a mistake but he was made the scapegoat of rivalry between his father Sunil Dutt and NCP leader Sharrad Pawar. Late Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackrey who came to Dutt's rescue and saw his release. The parole granted is as per the existing law and again the political parties are seeking mileage..

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