Governor rejects plea to pardon Sanjay Dutt

Mumbai : Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao has rejected former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju’s plea seeking pardon for actor Sanjay Dutt and waiving his remaining sentence in the Mumbai serial blasts case.

“The Governor followed the advice of the home department which had recommended that the plea for pardon be turned down as Dutt had been convicted by the highest [Supreme] court. It was felt that granting him pardon would set a bad precedent,” an official said.

Katju, in his petition, had argued that Dutt was “not a terrorist” and had “only erred”. “The only charge on which Sanjay Dutt has been found guilty is the charge of having in his possession a prohibited weapon,” the petition said. He also emphasised that he was in no way questioning the Supreme Court verdict.

The SC had, while convicting Dutt in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case in 2013, sentenced him to five years in jail but said the 18 months that the 56-year-old actor had already served would be set off against the period he had to spend behind bars.

After the imprisonment in May 2013, Dutt has spent nearly 30 months in prison already and is due to walk out a free man in February 2016. He was convicted of possessing sophisticated firearm and attempting to destroy it.

After he was sent to Pune’s Yerwada jail in May 2013, Dutt had been out on parole twice and an equal number of times on furlough, inviting charge of favouritism against the state authorities.

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