Millennium Post

‘Free Sanjay Dutt’ chorus gets shriller by the day

After a number of parliamentarians and top figures from Bollywood extended support to actor Sanjay Dutt whose conviction was upheld in an arms case related to the 1993 Mumbai bombings, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday too joined the chorus.

In her Facebook post, the West Bengal CM wrote: ‘I feel that Sanjay Dutt has already suffered a lot for the blunder he committed earlier.’

She further said that the Bollywood actor ‘has already suffered a lot for the blunder he committed earlier. From complete wreck, he has again picked up his career to unfold his potential.’

Remembering Sanjay’s father, Sunil Dutt, she wrote: ‘If he (Sunil Dutt) were alive, he would have no doubt made all efforts to see that Sanjay does not suffer any more. My heart also echoes the same sentiments.’ The West Bengal chief minister urged everyone to pray that ‘Sanjay lives a calm and peaceful life. . .’

Actor-turned-Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan, tourism minister and film star Chiranjeevi, law minister Ashwini Kumar, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, among others, have backed Sanju Baba.

While on the other hand, Shiv Sena has taken a backseat on the support to the actor and has refused to join the ‘pardon Sanjay Dutt’ chorus, saying on Monday that the actor must serve his entire sentence. Twenty years ago, it was Sena chief Bal Thackeray whose efforts helped Sanjay Dutt get bail after he was arrested and jailed for possessing illegal weapons in the 1993 Bombay blasts case.

So senior Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe’s assertion in the Maharashtra Assembly on Monday that, ‘pardoning Sanjay Dutt will set the wrong example; the actor should complete his term,' raised many eyebrows. It is no secret that in 1993-94, Sanjay’s father Sunil Dutt, then a Congress MP, had to turn to Bal Thackeray, who was chief of the rival Shiv Sena, for help after his son was sent to prison under the stringent Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act also known as TADA for possessing illegal weapons.

Sanjay Dutt’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde has in an exclusive interview to a private TV channel, recounted how Bal Thackeray went out of his way to help the actor, for whom the Sena chief had reportedly developed a fondness.

Thackeray, the lawyer said, first got the Sena-BJP government that ruled Maharashtra then to set up a state-level TADA review board, which passed an order in Sanjay Dutt’s favour. But the TADA judge rejected the review board’s order.

Maneshinde said Thackeray then called up the Congress' Narasimha Rao, who was Prime Minister, to lobby for Sanjay Dutt, the son of a Congress MP. Maneshinde claims he was witness to the conversation, which he says led to the setting up of a central committee to look into TADA cases. The central review committee too recommended bail for Sanjay Dutt.
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