Actor Sanjay Dutt was released from Pune’s high-security Yerwada Central Jail on Thursday morning, eight months shorn of completing his five-year sentence for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.
The 56-year-old Mr. Dutt has often been accused of being given preferential treatment during his prison term mired in controversy in which he spent more than three months on furloughs and paroles.
A posse of security personnel shielded Mr. Dutt as he emerged from the prison with a palpable sense of relief at 8:30 a.m. after fulfilling the requisite formalities.
There was a touch of drama as the actor, who was granted reprieve on grounds of ‘good behaviour’, saluted the prison on coming out and then trudged ahead with a large bag on his shoulders.
“There is no easy walk to freedom, my friends,” said a terse Mr. Dutt at the Pune airport, while straining to escape the battery of journalists .
Mr. Dutt was met by his wife Manyata, while director Rajkumar Hirani, who helmed him in the popular Munnabhai blockbusters, was there to greet him at the Pune Airport.
The actor flew to Mumbai in a chartered plane visit. Reports say he will visit Mumbai’s famous Siddhivinayak temple to offer prayers. From there, he will head to his mother Nargis Dutt’s grave in Marine Lines before heading to his home in Pali Hill.
Mr. Dutt, who has a slew of film projects lined up, was serving the remainder of his five-year sentence for illegal possession and destruction of an AK-56 rifle before the 1993 Mumbai blasts which killed over 250 people.
1993 Mumbai blasts
The actor was arrested in April 1993 and later convicted for illegal possession of an automatic assault rifle, a part of cache of arms and ammunition that landed ahead of the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts in which 257 people were killed.
In 2013, Dutt was sentenced to five years of imprisonment. He had already served 18 months behind the bars after being jailed in 1996, and so was ordered to serve the remaining 42 months. Dutt’s prison sentence has been mired in controversies due to the repeated paroles and furloughs he obtained.