Sanjay Dutt out on parole, denies favouritism

Mumbai: Two weeks after he was granted a month-long parole, Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt was Saturday released from Pune`s Yerwada Jail even as the controversy over "frequency" at which he is getting leave from jail refuses to die down.

Aware that his parole has caused a lot of flutter, the 53-year-old refuted reports of favouritism from higher-ups in government and also rubbished media reports insinuating that his wife Manyata was in good health contrary to what he has claimed in his application for parole.

"..There is a book you get which has the rules and regulation for parole and furlough. Last time, I was out on a furlough and this time on parole. There is no favour on me. The report of doctor treating my wife and a report by police were sent and then only I was granted parole. So, there is no case of favouritism," Dutt told reporters outside his suburban Bandra residence here in the evening.

He reached his residence after being released from Pune this afternoon.

"In my family, both my mother and also my first wife Richa had cancer and now my wife (Manyata) has been detected with a tumor. I want everyone to pray for her good health. It is not that those cancer and heart patients cannot go out," Dutt said.

He was referring to photographs in the media of Manyata purportedly attending the screening of a film and also a celebrity birthday party which had raised questions about Dutt`s claim regarding her illness.

Dutt, undergoing remainder of his five-year jail term for possessing illegal firearms, part of a cache of weapons meant to be used during the 1993 blasts, was granted parole on December 6.

In October this year, Dutt had availed of 15 days leave of furlough, and extended it further by another fortnight on medical grounds.

A major controversy had erupted over granting parole to Dutt for the second time in little over a month forcing the Maharashtra government to order an inquiry.

State Home minister R R Patil had ordered an inquiry to ascertain the basis for granting parole to Dutt after allegations of favouritism and protests outside Yerwada jail intensified.

This time, Dutt applied for parole citing ill-health of his wife Manyata, to Pune divisional commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh in whom the authority is vested.

"...Mr Deshmukh is a responsible IAS officer and he would have taken the decision to grant me parole after much thinking and scrutinising," Dutt added.