Sanjay Dutt
Sanjay Dutt

Ranjit Mahanti

The parole extension granted to Sanjay Dutt, convict in 1993 Mumbai serial blast case has been censured by Bombay High Court on Tuesday.

“The state should exercise its discretionary powers properly and should not discriminate,” the HC said. It also made an observation that the state government would not have shown this diligence in cases where convict happens to be a common man.

The observations by the HC come in response to a PIL filed by an individual alleging preferential treatment to Dutt and for a rethink and relook at the rules for granting parole or furlough to a convict. The statement made by HC has put the Maharashtra Government in dock.

The Union Home Ministry sought a report from the Maharashtra government on the issue. The Centre had asked the Maharashtra government to clarify whether Dutt was accorded any special privileges while accepting his parole request thrice within eight months since he was lodged in the Yerawada Central Jail in Pune.

Confirming the development, Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil had said to the media that the state government would send its reply to the central government soon. Asked whether convict took advantage of the parole system, Patil had said it pertains to certain legal issues and he has sought details on this from the additional chief secretary in the Home Ministry.

Dutt, 54, has been sentenced to serve the remaining 42 months of his five-year prison term after he was found guilty in the March 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts.

Dutt was lodged in Pune jail May 18, 2013, was first released on a fortnight-long furlough, which was extended by another fortnight in October 2013.He was granted back to back parole on three occasions. Currently, Dutt is out on parole since Dec 21 and will remain outside jail till March 21.

He has applied for extension of parole claiming medical grounds of his wife Maanyata’s poor health condition. She suffers from multiple heart and liver ailments. However she was seen attending film party until recently.

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