Mumbai : “My father was very eager that the tag of terrorist be taken off my name. I wish he was here to finally see it happening,” said an emotional Sanjay Dutt, addressing the media at his Bandra residence after his release. The Bollywood actor famous for his roles in movies like Munnabhai MBBS, Vaastav, Khalnayak etc was released from Yerwada jail, Pune on Thursday.
Dutt junior served 42 months of his five-year sentence for his alleged connection with the 1993 Mumbai blasts. Dutt said that he was more than relieved that he was out of jail. “I and my family members have struggled for over 23 years through this ordeal. I have waited a long time for the taste of freedom and today I am finally free,” he said.
The 56-year-old actor was arrested in April 1993 for possession and subsequent destruction of an AK-56 rifle. This was said to be a part of a cache of arms and explosives in the ammunition consignment used in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts. In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld his conviction by a special court in Mumbai for possession of arms and ammunitions. This was then reduced to five years, following which he surrendered to serve the remainder of his sentence.
Dutt, sporting a fancy haircut highlighting his salt and pepper hair, remembered his father, the late actor-politician Sunil Dutt and said he missed him the most today. “The SC has endorsed that I am not a terrorist. My father would have been so happy to know this and see me walk free,” he said. Replying to allegations raised by many that he received preferential treatment in jail with easy furloughs and paroles, he said this was not true. “It is a misconception that my celebrity status worked for me. There were many things that the common man was granted in jail, but I wasn’t. I have worked hard and made good use of the time spent in jail,” he explained.
With wife Manyata by his side, Dutt said his family had stood by him like a rock. “I was inside jail but Manyata was outside taking care of two children and dealing with everyday things. She is not just my better half, but my best half,” he said.
When asked what were his plans now that he has been released, Dutt said he was looking forward to two things. “One is spending time with my family and kids and the second is work. I am eagerly waiting to begin work again,” he said.