Sanjay Dutt gets bail in cheating case filed by producer

Last Updated: Mon, Apr 22, 2013 13:31 hrs

Mumbai: Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt on Monday secured bail from a Mumbai court which had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against him in a cheating case filed by a movie producer.

Andheri Metropolitan court issued the warrant against Dutt in a complaint filed by producer Shakil Noorani, who, among other things, alleged that the actor had failed to complete his movie "Jaan Ki Baazi" in 2002 despite taking the signing amount of Rs.5 million.

Noorani, who also alleged threats by mafia at Dutt's behest, sought a refund of the signing amount and the alleged losses of around Rs.2 crore suffered in the project.

Dutt appeared before the court Monday afternoon and sought bail, which was granted.

The court issued the warrant after Dutt failed to appear before it on two previous occasions.

Prior to filing the court case, Noorani had moved the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMPPA), which had directed Dutt to pay up Rs.2 crore of losses incurred on the incomplete movie.

Later, Noorani moved the Bombay High Court to get the IMPPA order executed and the high court ordered attachment of two of Dutt's properties in Mumbai.

Following this, Noorani contended that he started getting threat calls which were traced to Dubai and Karachi, but Dutt's lawyers rubbished the allegations.

Last month, the Supreme Court ordered Dutt to return to jail to serve the remaining sentence of three-and-half years in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.

Following a plea by Dutt, the apex court last week granted him four more weeks' time to surrender and complete his pending jail term. Dutt was earlier due to return to jail April 18.

The warrant was issued by Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate's court as Dutt failed to appear twice before it in response to summonses in the case filed by producer Shakeel Noorani, who has alleged he received threat calls at the behest of the actor.

However, Dutt promptly appeared before the Magistrate in the afternoon along with his lawyer Rizwan Merchant and sought bail.

The court granted him bail for Rs 10,000 and fixed the matter for hearing on May 3.

Acting on Noorani's complaint, the Magistrate, on February 13 this year, had asked Dutt to appear before it to answer allegation of criminal intimidation levelled against him by the producer.

The two are at loggersheads after Dutt abandoned Noorani's film 'Jaan Ki Baazi' half way through in 2002 and refused to shoot further. According to the complaint, Dutt also refused to return part payment of Rs 50 lakh.

Noorani had earlier approached Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association, which had directed Dutt to pay Rs 2 crore to the producer for the loss incurred on shooting.

As the filmstar did not pay the money, Noorani approached the Bombay High Court and prayed for execution of the order passed by IMPPA. In 2010, the High Court had ordered attachment of two properties of the 53-year-old actor.

Noorani alleged that soon after the HC order, he started getting threatening phone calls which were traced to Dubai and Karachi following which he filed a criminal case.

Dutt's lawyer Rizwan Merchant refuted allegations that the calls had been made at his client's behest and claimed he had been falsely implicated.

Merchant alleged calls were made in 2011 and Noorani may have "engineered" those after visiting Pakistan.

53-year-old Dutt was last month ordered by the Supreme Court to go back to jail and serve three-and-a-half-years of remaining sentence in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. He was last week given four more weeks to surrender and undergo the sentence.

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