Sanjay Dutt prepares to go to jail tomorrow

After the Supreme Court rejected his final appeal, actor Sanjay Dutt is now preparing to surrender to the TADA court in Mumbaitomorrow. Dutt had been found guilty under the Arms Act which sentenced him to six years in jail. The Suporeme court had remitted his sentence by one year. Taking his early incarceration into account, Dutt still has almost three and a half years of jail time to serve.

Sanjay Dutt was arrested for illegal possession of a 9 mm pistol and an AK-56 in a notified area during the infamous Mumbai blasts of 1993 where more than 250 people were killed and 700 injured. He was arrested under TADA and the Arms Act. Later, he was acquitted in the charges filed under TADA but was found guilty under the Arms Act. He had appealed against this and the matter was referred to the Supreme Court. The court found him guilty and denied the appeal, though his sentence was reduced from six to five years. He was given three months to surrender while the deadline was extended by a month later on humanitarian grounds. He has already spend a year and a half in jail. Three and a half years term remain to be served.

The New Delhi based team of lawyers of the actor had filed a review petition earlier stating that since Dutt had been acquitted under TADA, confessions made under TADA cannot be used to convict him under the Arms Act. Bu this petition too was denied by the court and no further time was given to the actor to surrender.

Yesterday, Dutt had filed a petition saying he wanted to surrender directly at the Yerawada Jail in Pune or the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai and not to the TADA court in Mumbai. He said that he "apprehends a large presence of media and fans at the Tada court premises which increases security risks... as it becomes difficult to monitor each and every person present at the court site... and also causes a lot of inconvenience to the police and the court". This was because of what happened last time he was arrested. Then he was "chased by the media and news reporters/journalists." The vehicle carrying him was being driven at 120 kmph where, "a minor error of judgment by the driver can lead to a fatal accident which can cost him his life".

However, today Dutt has withdrawn this petition and has agreed to surrender at the TADA court in Mumbai.