Don't pardon Sanjay Dutt: Shiv Sena

Last Updated: Mon, Mar 25, 2013 14:27 hrs
Don't pardon Sanjay Dutt: Shiv Sena

At a time when the clamour for granting pardon to Sanjay Dutt is growing louder, the Shiv Sena on Monday said the Bollywood actor should serve his full sentence.

Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe said the actor should not be pardoned as the move will send a wrong message to the society.

Speaking at the Maharashtra Assembly, Gorhe on Monday said: "There should not be a rethink on the Supreme Court´s judgement."

"It will send a wrong message to the society if Sanjay Dutt is pardoned," she said.

Pertinently, after Dutt was arrested and jailed under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act in 1993, his father and the then Congress MP Sunil Dutt had to turn to late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray for help.

"Incidentally, both Sunil Dutt and Thackeray are no longer alive. After Sunil Dutt went to Bal Thackeray for help, the latter even called up then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao to lobby for the actor-politician´s son.This led to the setting up of a committee to look into TADA cases. The committee had recommended bail for Sanjay Dutt then," Business Standard reported.

Several political leaders and film personalities have voiced their support for Dutt as the clamour for granting pardon to the Bollywood actor is growing louder since the Supreme Court sentenced him on Thursday.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday came out in support of the Bollywood actor and said he ´has already suffered a lot´.

"Many requests from the civil society and film personalities have come to me to see that Sanjay does not suffer any more. Though it is not in my hand, I feel that he has already suffered a lot for the blunder he committed earlier," Banerjee posted on her Facebook page on Monday.

Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh told media: "Sanjay Dutt is not a criminal. He is not a terrorist. The atmosphere was bad in 1993 and he reacted to it like any child would. He made a mistake and paid the price for it by going to jail for 18 months."

Bollywood veteran actress and Samajwadi Party parliamentarian Jaya Bachchan earlier said she would personally appeal to the governor of Maharashtra to commute the jail term of Sanjay Dutt in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.

"He has already been punished enough. He suffered for 20 years," said Jaya Bachchan, calling Sanjay Dutt a changed man.

"I am going personally go and appeal to the Governor," she said.

Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju appealed to Maharashtra Governor K Sankarnarayanan to pardon Sanjay Dutt.

Katju sought pardon for Dutt under Article 161 of the Constitution, saying the actor had not been found guilty of playing a role in the 1993 blasts and had suffered a lot.

The Supreme Court sentenced for five years Sanjay Dutt to jail for illegal arms possession during the Mumbai bombings that had killed 257 people in 1993 in the nation´s financial hub.

Dutt, who is the son of late legendary actor couple Nargis Dutt and Sunil Dutt, was accused of illegal possession of arms as lethal as an AK-56 rifle. He was, however, acquitted of graver charges under TADA or the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act.

Effectively Sanjay Dutt will now have to spend three years and eight months in jail.

The actor was given four weeks to surrender though he is likely to file a review petition.

On March 12, 1993, twelve coordinated blasts in Bombay Stock Exchange, Air India Building at Nariman Point and hotels Sea Rock and Juhu Centaur resulted in death of at least 257 people and injury to more than 700.

It was alleged that the blasts were the instruments to avenge the demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya in December 1992 and were allegedly conspired by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim (believed to be hiding in Pakistan now) and two other terrorists-Tiger Memon and his brother Yakub Memon.

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