MUMBAI: Now that the Supreme Court has rejected Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt’s appeal to review his sentence, Yerwada prison in Pune will most likely be his new address for the next 3.5 years.
Though the actor’s plea has been rejected, the only options available to him now seem to be Presidential pardon or an application for early release from prison, say legal experts.
An advocate spelt out Dutt’s remaining few options after the SC rejected his plea. “Sanjay has exhausted most of the available legal options to avoid jail, and he will have to go to prison to serve the remainder of his term.” Further adding that Dutt does have the alternative to file a curative petition option, but lawyers confess that the grounds are weak.
Legal sources also said that they could file an application to seek more time to surrender, citing his commitment to shoot films. And then there is always the President’s pardon, upon which sources say Dutt’s legal team and family have now pinned their hopes onto.
Criminal lawyer Majid Memon, who defended many of the accused in the case, is apparently still hopeful. “He has no option but to surrender on the appointed day, get in (jail), and then seek relief of remission, which I hope he may get,” he said.
As per the 10 May ruling, Dutt will have to surrender within a week before a TADA court. Sources say the actor will likely be housed at Pune’s Yerwada jail.
The Maharashtra prisons department is to make a final call on his prison location in a few days. If Dutt is lodged in Yerwada prison, official say he will be kept in a separate cell with tight security.
Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) Meeran Borwankar said, “We are not sharing with media about where Sanjay Dutt will be kept after he surrenders.”
A source added: “Dutt is expected to be sent to Yerawada. We have all facilities there to lodge high-profile convicts and it is considered to be safe. Security has been beefed up in Yerawada following the murder of Indian Mujahideen operative Qateel Siddiqui.”
An officer added, on condition of anonymity, “As per the procedure, he will first surrender before the TADA court and later will be handed over to Arthur Road jail from where the jail authority will provide him security. Earlier, he was lodged in a Thane jail where he was kept in the anda cell and later he was shifted to the Yerawada jail and kept in separate cell.”