Sanjay Dutt’s petition rejected, will surrender on May 16

The latest review petition that was filed by the New Delhi based legal team of Sanjay Dutt was reviewed yesterday and his plea has been rejected. This means Sanjay will now have to go to jail to serve out the remaining terms of his sentence which amounts to a little more than three years.

Sanjay Dutt was arrested for keeping a 9mm pistol and an AK-56 rifle in a notified area in Mumbai during the Mumbai blasts of 1993. It was suspected that the blasts were a work of mafia boss Dawood Ibrahim in collusion with the Pakistan agency ISI. 275 people were killed and more than 700 injured. Dutt was arrested in charges of possession of illegal weapons under TADA and the Arms’ Act. Later, his charges in TADA were dismissed but he was found guilty under the Arm’s Act. The Supreme Court had previously rejected his appeal and had given him a deadline to surrender. In view of his various work commitments, the deadline was then extended by four weeks on ‘humanitarian grounds’.

It was at this time that the legal team of the actor had submitted a petition to the apex court challenging the verdict handed down in the Rajiv Gandhi killer case. The petition argued that since Dutt has been acquitted under TADA, the confessions made under TADA cannot be held against him in another case under the Arms Act. Six other accused, Yusuf Nulwalla, Khalil Nazir, Dawood Yusuf Khan, Shaikh Asif Yusuf, Muzammil Umar Kadri and Ahmed Shaikh had all filed similar petition. These were reviewed yesterday by a bench consisting of judges P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan. They said that there were no merit in the petition and no new grounds to reconsider the case. All seven petitions have been rejected.

"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," said one of his advocates. He could submit a curative petition, but grounds are weak. The lawyers are now pinning their hopes on a pardon from the Governor / President. They will also ask more time to surrender to complete the shooting, but that too is unlikely to be granted because Sanjay had given an undertaking that he will not seek more time to surrender, the last time his deadline was extended by four weeks.