Sanjay Dutt walks free, says ‘I am not a terrorist’
Actor Sanjay Dutt on Thursday walked out of Yerawada jail as a free man, after being released 103 days ahead of his prison term and asserted that he is not a terrorist and wants to leave behind the bitter memories of conviction in the 1993 Mumbai blasts.
“I am not a terrorist. I have been acquitted of charges under TADA and conspiracy. The Supreme Court had also acquitted me under (IPC) Section 120-B of conspiracy and TADA. I got the sentence under the Arms Act,” the 56-year-old actor said, addressing media at his Mumbai home.
He added: “I request the media that whenever they write or mention anything about me, don’t write 1993 blasts case before my name... I am not into it.”
A relieved Dutt, clad in a blue shirt and jeans, stepped out of the Yerawada Jail near Pune, with a huge bag. As he walked out, Dutt turned back and saluted the Tricolour atop the prison building and touched the soil before heading to the car with his wife Manyata and filmmaker-friend Rajkumar Hirani. His children twins Iqra and Shahraan were waiting in the car. Before taking a chartered flight to Mumbai, Dutt said: “There is no easy walk to freedom, my friends.”
Dutt was set free after completing prison formalities at 8.45 am and came out escorted by the police, who had tightened security in the area.
Dutt, son of legendary actors Sunil and Nargis Dutt, returned to his home at Bandra in Mumbai to a grand and emotional welcome by his family members, including his sisters – Namrata and Priya.
Lanes leading to his house were lined with hoardings reading – “Welcome back Sanju Baba”, “Bandraites welcome back Bandra boy Sanjay Dutt” with a picture of young Dutt with his mother Nargis.
Also, a photo of his late actor-politician father Sunil Dutt was put up at the gate of his building ‘Imperial Heights’ along with a message that read – ‘Dutt Sahab Amar Rahe’. Fans were seen eagerly awaiting Dutt’s return.
After landing in Mumbai, the actor visited the Siddhivinayak Temple and his mother Nargis Dutt’s grave. “She (Dutt’s mother) passed away when we were very small. I went to seek her blessings as I am a free man today,” he said. He said, “For 23 years I have been waiting for this moment...for freedom. I did everything (followed the law). It’s a feeling that will take a while to sink-in. I miss my father (Sunil Dutt) today. I wish he was alive to see this day... if he would have been (alive), he would have been the happiest person.”
ADG (Prisons) BK Upadhyay said the actor did not get any special treatment in prison.
When asked about his last day in jail, Dutt said he did not sleep and he even did not have food for the last four days. “I was like I will be out of jail...not come here again (jail),” he said.
On the criticism over he being granted remission and the furloughs availed by him while serving the sentence, Dutt said, “It’s a misconception (that he got preferential treatment for leaves). It has nothing to do with me being a celebrity as I was also not allowed to do many things. May be, it (celebrity status) went against me.”
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