Activist opposes Dutt’s ‘early release’

MUMBAI: A social activist in India has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis opposing any decision for early release of actor Sanjay Dutt, who is serving jail sentence in a 1993 blasts case for possessing illegal weapon, saying it will set a “wrong precedent”.

Dutt is likely to be released from jail next year, nearly three-and-a-half months before completing his sentence, as he is likely to benefit from all 105 days of remittance for good behaviour during his stay at Yerwada jail in Pune.

However, the proposal granting him the remittance is yet to be cleared by the Maharashtra government.

“I have written a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and have requested him not to show any leniency to the actor. This will set a wrong precedent for high-profile criminals who would also want the same preferential treatment from the government,” activist Pradeep Bhalekar said.

“Rather, I have urged the Chief Minister to show some sympathy to thousands of under trial prisoners who have no backing to fight their cases and are languishing in jails,” he said.

Dutt was sentenced to a five-year imprisonment after he was convicted in the 1993 blasts case for possessing an illegal weapon. He had already served 18 months before the verdict was pronounced. The 56-year-old actor is now completing the remaining prison term of 42 months.

“I went through some reports that government is mulling to release Sanjay Dutt from jail nearly three-and-half months before completing his sentence, because of his good behaviour during jail term,” Bhalekar said. “If it happens, it would be a black day for the state,” he said.