Won't seek pardon, says a teary-eyed Sanjay Dutt
Mumbai: Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt on Thursday said that he will abide by the Supreme Court’s verdict in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case and will surrender within the given time frame.
Dutt was convicted under the Arms Act for possessing arms when the 1993 Mumbai blasts took place.
Addressing the media from his residence here on Thursday, Dutt also revealed that he won’t seek pardon from the Governor in the case. He said, "I have the highest respect for Supreme Court's terms and conditions put on me. I want to thank whoever supported us during the ordeal."
"There are many other people who deserve pardon. I want to tell with folded hands to the media, the honourable citizens of the country that when I am not going for pardon then there can be no debate about it," said Dutt, who broke down during his interaction with the press here.
The actor, who has been handed down five years imprisonment by the Supreme Court in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, said he had the highest respect for the apex court and will abide by all terms and conditions put forth by it.
"The honourable Supreme Court has given me time to surrender and I will surrender in that time," he said as sister and MP Priya Dutt comforted him.
As Dutt has already served 18 months in jail, he would have to undergo the imprisonment for three-and-a-half-years. The apex court has given him four-week time to surrender.
"I am shattered and this is the tough time in my life. With folded hands I request the media and citizens let me be at peace," he said.
Several noted personalities including Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju and actor-turned-politicians Jaya Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha had sought pardon for Sanjay Dutt.
When pointed out that Dutt will not seek clemency, Katju, however, said he will go ahead and apply for his pardon.
Katju had said Dutt should be pardoned under Article 161 of the Constitution as he had not been found guilty of having played a role in the 1993 blasts and had suffered a lot.
Asked about Dutt's stand, Congress Spokesperson Rashid Alvi said that the party does not comment on judicial matters.
Expelled Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and Rampur Lok Sabha MP Jayaprada had on March 26 met Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan here and sought clemency for the actor.
"There are very, very tough times in my life and in our lives. I want to thank everybody who supported us and me. I just want to tell everyone from the media that I have got very few days left and I want to finish all my work. I also have to spend time with my family," Dutt said.
Today is the first time that Dutt has ventured out of his house in suburban Bandra since the Supreme Court verdict. He made the remarks before leaving for a shoot.
"I love my country and its citizens. I love India," he said. Dutt has to finish shooting for T P Agarwal's film 'Policegiri' and is said to have finished dubbing for remake of 'Zanjeer' in which he is playing Sher Khan, the character epitomised by legendary actor Pran.
Dutt is said to have finished shooting few portions for Karan Johar's home production 'Ungli' that also stars Emraan Hashmi, Randeep Hooda and Neha Dhupia and of Rajkumar Hirani's 'PK'.
His sister Priya, who is a Congress MP from Mumbai North Central, was by his side during the press interaction. She consoled him and he embraced her after making his remarks.
The Supreme Court had on March 21 upheld the death sentence of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, a key conspirator with Dawood Ibrahim in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, and ordered that Dutt return to jail to serve three-and-a-half years sentence for possessing illegal arms.
In its verdict in the 20-year-long case, the apex court said 33 others will serve rigorous jail term "for their whole life" and termed as "devastating" the role played by Pakistan and its spy agency ISI in training and supporting conspirators in hatching the plot for the blasts in the financial capital claiming 257 lives.
Dutt, who is out on bail, will also have to surrender within four weeks to serve a jail term of 42 months as the apex court reduced to five years the six year jail term awarded to him by a designated TADA court in 2007 and he had already spent 18 months behind the bar.
Dutt, son of famous Bollywood couple late Sunil Dutt and Nargis, was convicted by the TADA court for illegal possession of a 9 mm Pistol and an AK-56 rifle which was part of the consignment of weapons and explosives brought to India for the coordinated serial blasts.
He went teary-eyed when he said, "I have a lot of work left to be finished. I have to spend time with my family. Please let me be in peace till the time I surrender. I love my country and its citizens. I love India."
Dutt broke down when he finished talking to the press and was ushered by his sister Priya Dutt inside their residence.
(With PTI inputs)