Sanjay Dutt surrenders for 42 more months in jail

Mumbai, May 16 (IANS) It was back to jail for Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt who Thursday surrendered before a special court to complete his prison term in the 1993 Mumbai bombings case, adding one more chapter in a life story that could rival one of his films.

Curious crowds and scores of camera crews had gathered outside his Bandra residence since morning and continued to be there till he drove out in the afternoon in a convoy of cars with his friends and family.

Dressed in a white kurta, with cropped hair and a tilak on his forehead, a visibly emotional Sanjay waved before walking hand-in-hand with wife Manyata towards his car.

The crowds continued to mob him even when his motorcade reached the sessions court complex in south Mumbai. As people strained to catch a glimpse of the star, Sanjay was unable to get out of his car. He could do that only after director Mahesh Bhatt requested the crowds to move back.

And the crowds still surged, leading Sanjay to get hurt in the chest, said his lawyer Rizwan Merchant.

Accompanied by Manyata and sister Priya, Sanjay came out of the vehicle and begged with the crowds to let him surrender. He declined to make any comment on any issue.

He was whisked away by security personnel inside the special TADA Court to complete the post-surrender formalities.

After completing these, he will be taken to the high-security Arthur Road Central Jail later Thursday, officials said. From there he will be shifted to another regular jail either in Pune, Nashik or Nagpur.

Police officials were tight-lipped about the final destination but said Pune’s Yerawada jail, where he has spent time earlier, could be it.

Though Sanjay’s lawyer demanded that he be allowed home food, mattresses and blankets, medicines and electronic cigarettes and be permitted to meet his family and legal advisors among other privileges during his 42-month jail term, the Central Bureau of Investigation said he should be treated on par with other convicts.

Special judge G.A. Sanap has permitted home-made food and medicines for a month while rejecting all other demands, including electronic cigarettes.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had declined Sanjay’s plea for additional time to surrender to serve his remaining sentence for his role in the case.

The actor, who has been convicted under the Arms Act for illegal possession of weapons, has already served 18 months in prison.

The apex court had upheld his conviction but reduced the six-year jail term to five.

According to Bollywood circles, Bollywood’s ‘Munnabhai’ has resigned himself to serving the remaining tenure of his sentence and returning to jail without creating more controversies.

The day, which is likely to end in a jail cell, had started with early morning prayers and a havan at his home, according to sources.

Since Wednesday night, Sanjay had been getting calls and visits from friends, colleagues and well wishers, the sources said.

Prominent among them were actors Salman Khan, Fardeen Khan and director David Dhawan with whom he has always shared a special rapport.

There were also Vashu Bhagnani, Rajkumar Hirani, Apoorva Lakhia, Raj Kundra, Bunty Walia, Bhushan Kumar and Sophie Choudry.

The son of eminent actors Sunil and Nargis Dutt, Sanjay’s life has been the subject of intense speculation, beginning with his battles with drug addiction, the early death of his mother and first wife and, of course, his involvement in the 1993 bombings that killed nearly 300 people.

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