Categorized | South Asian Politics

Clamour over pardon for Sanjay Dutt grows louder

Posted on 27 March 2013 by admin

Divya Kaeley

 Even as the chorus for clemency for actor Sanjay Dutt grew louder, social activist Anna Hazare on Saturday disapproved of the demand to pardon him in a case related to the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. “The judiciary has given its verdict. It is not proper to interfere with the court judgement,” he told reporters when asked to comment on the pleadings from various quarters and the Bollywood for Dutt’s pardon.

 Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde on Saturday said he was opposed to granting any remission to actor Sanjay Dutt, whose conviction in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts was recently upheld by the Supreme Court. “Granting any remission to Sanjay Dutt would set a bad precedent. Sanjay Dutt should not be pardoned simply because he is a celebrity”, Munde said addressing a function.

Dutt would have to undergo nearly three-and-a-half-years in jail after the apex court ruled against granting any probation to the actor found guilty of illegal possession of arms during the blasts.

 RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya too on Saturday criticised the “hue and cry” about the jail sentence to actor Sanjay Dutt under the Arms Act in the 1993 Mumbai terror blast case and said he actually got away with a light punishment.

“On the one hand there are family members of the victims who are looking for lines in the verdict that would cool their anger which has been simmering for the last two decades. …On the other hand are those who are crying for the star… That he has two small kids and hundreds of crores are at stake in Bollywood,” Panchjanya said in the editorial of its edition.

 The Maharashtra Governor lacks power to pardon Sanjay Dutt, senior lawyer and BJP leader Mahesh Jethmalani on Saturday said criticising Press Council Chairman Justice Markandey Katju for his “unseemly haste” in seeking relief for the actor sentenced to 5 years jail for possessing arms during 1993 Mumbai blasts. He said Katju has written a “wholly misconceived” letter to the Governor and others, including Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and I&B Minister Manish Tewary, members of film fraternity and office bearers of Congress, NCP and Samajwadi parties “have jumped on to his ex-Lordship’s bandwagon”. He said Dutt has been convicted under the Arms Act and the Governor’s power of pardon under Article 161 of the Constitution does not extend to conviction under this law.

 Meanwhile, a host of parliamentarians and top figures from Bollywood extended support to actor Sanjay Dutt who was sent back to jail by the Supreme Court Thursday in an arms case related to the 1993 Bombay blasts. Cutting across party lines, the members said that the actor had already suffered a lot and should be pardoned.

Not just the film fraternity, Sanjay Dutt has found support from political circles as well. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has come out in support of the beleaguered actor. Raj Thackeray reportedly said “In these 20 years the entire nation has cheered and applauded Sanjay Dutt and 20 years after the incident he is convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.”

“Whether he is guilty or not I do not know. The Supreme Court has considered him guilty according to the laws in the country but I cannot digest the fact that this case has taken 20 years and while Sanjay Dutt is being punished those who are actually guilty are out of the country. Be it Dawood Ibrahim or Tiger Memon they are all out of the country. When will

they be brought to book? They are happily living abroad,” Raj Thackeray added.

 Congress MP Priya Dutt on Saturday said that their family would explore all the options to seek clemency for her actor-brother Sanjay Dutt. “As a sister, as a family…We will always stand by him (Sanjay). That is what any loving family will do. It is only logical that as a family we will explore every option,” Priya said in a press statement.

 As film stars and politicians joined the chorus for actor Sanjay Dutt’s pardon, daughter of Zaibunisa Kazi, who is facing similar charges as the actor, questions why her mother should not also get the same support? Daughter of 1993 Mumbai blasts convict, Zaibunisa said, “I wish I was a celebrity or my mother was a celebrity or a sister of an MP. Even my mother would have got the kind of support Sanjay Dutt is getting.”

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