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HC: PIL seeks cancellation of Sanjay Dutt’s release on remission

A day before Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt will walk out from Yerwada prison, a public interest litigation has been filed in the Bombay High Court challenging his early release on remission and alleging that the actor was getting preferential treatment.

Sanjay Dutt-AV

The PIL filed by social activist Pradeep Bhalekar urges the High Court to cancel the government’s decision granting Dutt remission and to order the actor to be taken into custody again to serve his entire five-year sentence imposed on him by the apex court.

Dutt is slated to walk out of Yerawada prison near Pune on Thursday after getting remission (reduction) of sentence.

Dutt is scheduled to step out of the jail around 9 am on February 25 and will be received by his wife Manyata, children and other family members.

The jail authorities have rejected a request for a small ‘welcome ceremony’ planned by the family on security grounds, in view of a large number of the actor’s fans and media contingent expected there, said the official requesting anonymity.

According to the Maharashtra Home Department, he was given remission on account of good conduct.

“The remission granted to Dutt is wrong and illegal. What is the good behaviour and conduct that has been held as a ground for granting him remission and reducing his sentence? What about all the other convicts especially in petty offences who are rotting in jail. They have also filed applications seeking remission but there has been no order on those,” petitioner’s lawyer Nitin Satpute said.

Satpute said he would mention the PIL before the appropriate bench on Thursday.

Dutt had surrendered in May 2013 after the apex court upheld his conviction by a special court here for possession of arms and ammunitions which was part of the consignment used in the 1993 serial bomb blasts.

Dutt worked as a semi-skilled worker in Yerawada Central Prison in Pune making paper bags and earned a salary of Rs 38,000 but will take home just Rs 440 as he has spent the rest of the amount on daily use items. Dutt was receiving the salary of a semi-skilled worker which is set at Rs 50 per day.

The salary has been calculated after excluding 256 days of leave on parole and furlough granted by the Pune divisional commissioner and deputy inspector general (western region) of the prisons department on numerous occasions since 2013.

Among the various jobs the ‘inmate number C-16656’ did in the jail included playing a radio jockey for the in-house FM channel to entertain inmates and reduce stress levels.

His release on Thursday will be 103 days ahead of the end of his full prison term.

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