Pune: Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt on Thursday walked free out of the Yerawada prison here after being granted remission in his five-year sentence, putting behind his turbulent past as a convict in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case.
Clad in blue shirt and jeans, a smiling Dutt was escorted out of the imposing jail gates this morning after completing formalities and got into a car that drove him straight to Lohegaon Airport here to take a chartered flight to Mumbai.
The 56-year-old on screen 'Khalnayak' saluted the tri-colour fluttering on top of the jail building as he carried a bag containing his belongings and his inmate file with him. Dutt's wife Maanyata and noted film maker Rajkumar Hirani accompanied him on way to the city airport.
The "Munnabhai" of the celluloid, saluted the soil outside the prison before his got into the waiting car, juggling a khaki bag and a green coloured file. Sanjay spent 42 months, a remainder of the his five year sentence in the Yerawada prison.
His stay was mired in various controversies relating to his frequent paroles and furlough which the detractors said was granted to him as special favours due to his celebrity status. Prison authorities and his lawyers, however, refuted the allegations, saying his remission of 144 days and his parole leave was in accordance with jail manual and prescribed rules.
The Bollywood star was arrested on 19 April, 1993, for possession and destruction of an AK-56 rifle, which was a part of cache of arms and explosives which landed in India prior to the serial blasts of March 1993. During the investigation and the marathon trial, he spent 18 months in jail.
On 31 July, 2007, the TADA court in Mumbai sentenced him to six years' rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000. In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling but reduced the sentence to five years following which he surrendered to serve the rest of his sentence.
According to jail officials, Dutt was given work of making paper bags in his cell. The actor, embroiled in heated debates over his frequent parole and furlough leave in many quarters, regularly participated in the programmes on internal circuit jail radio, jail sources said. During his imprisonment, he was granted parole of 90 days in December 2013 and again for 30 days later.
with inputs from PTI