New Delhi: Demands for pardon for Mumbai blasts convict Sanjay Dutt grew louder on Monday with more politicians and filmstars joining the chorus though Congress virtually distanced itself from party leader Digvijay Singh`s remarks in strong support of the actor.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Dutt has "already suffered a lot for the blunder".
"I have received many requests from civil society and film personalities to see that Sanjay does not suffer more," the Chief Minister said in a Facebook post.
"Though it is not in my hand, I feel that he has already suffered a lot for the blunder he committed earlier. From complete wreck, he has again picked up his career to unfold his potential," she said.
Recalling her association with Sanjay`s actor-turned- politician father Sunil Dutt, she said they fought together strongly against TADA.
"...Let us all pray for Sanjay living a peaceful life," Banerjee said.
A day after Digvijay Singh`s remarks in strong support of Dutt, Congress virtually distanced itself from its leader saying, "the party does not comment on such matters".
"There is the rule of law. Nobody is big or small in the eyes of law. Anybody can submit his petition to Governor or President and they decide on that. The party does not comment on such issues," party spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters here.
Singh had said, "Sanjay Dutt is not a criminal, he is not a terrorist. Sanjay Dutt, at a young age, in the atmosphere of that time, thought that perhaps the way Sunil Dutt had been raising his voice against communalism and favoured the minorities, then perhaps he could be attacked."
"So as an obvious reaction of a kid to do something, if he has committed a mistake then I feel that he has undergone the punishment for it," he had said.
After BJP opposed the demand for relief to Dutt, saying that the law should be the same for everyone, its NDA ally Shiv Sena today opposed the move to pardon Bollywood actor stating that it would send a wrong message to the society.
Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe said in the Maharashtra
Legislative Council, "There should not be a rethink on the Supreme Court`s judgement. It will send a wrong message to the society if Dutt is pardoned."
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesman DP Tripathi said Dutt deserves to be pardoned.
"The mercy petition, whenever it is filed by Sanjay Dutt before the Maharashtra Governor, should be considered with positive attitude and sympathy," he told reporters in Nagpur.
Tripathi claimed that the NCP`s stand right from day one has been to pardon him, unlike the Shiv Sena which first supported him and has now changed its stand.
Meanwhile, expelled Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and Lok Sabha MP from Rampur Jaya Prada have sought an appointment with Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan tomorrow, apparently to seek pardon for actor Sanjay Dutt.
Amar Singh has been close to Dutt and was his mentor when the actor briefly dabbled in politics.
Director-Producer Pahlaj Nihlani also sought pardon for Dutt.
"He and his family have already suffered a lot due to the mistake committed by him. Considering his good conduct and record after undergoing prison term earlier it would be apt if Sanjay Dutt gets pardon by the Maharashtra Governor," Nihlani told PTI.
Earlier, actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha hailed Press Council of India Chairman Justice Markandey Katju`s view on pardon for Dutt and sought relief for the actor considering his character and his responsibility as father of two small kids.
The Supreme Court had on Thursday sentenced the actor to five years in jail after upholding his conviction under Arms Act for illegally possessing prohibited weapons including an AK-56 rifle, which was part of the consignment of weapons and explosives brought to India for the 1993 coordinated serial blasts in Mumbai by Dawood Ibrahim and associates.
As per the provisions of the law, the governor has powers to pardon a convict or reduce his punishment.