Mumbai: The remission granted to Sanjay Dutt besides other concessions like parole are as per the prison manual rules, says a former TADA court judge who had sentenced the Bollywood actor to five years' imprisonment in 2007 in the Mumbai serial blasts case.
Dutt is slated to walk out of Yerawada prison near Pune on 25 February after getting remission (reduction) of sentence. According to the Maharashtra Home Department, he was given remission on account of good conduct.
"Like any other citizen, Dutt is also entitled to these concessions," said Pramod Kode, who retired as a judge of the Bombay High Court.
As a special TADA court judge, Kode presided over the 1993 Mumbai blasts trial which went on for 14 years.
Dutt was granted concessions not because he is a celebrity but as per the rules, Kode said.
The frequent parole or furlough availed by Dutt had come in for criticism.
Dutt also has the right to carry out his duties towards his family within the legal parameters, Kode told PTI.
The former judge said he wasn't aware about Dutt's conduct in the prison. "But I feel his conduct must have been good, otherwise the jail authorities would not have granted him such concessions," he said.
According to Kode, the court awards sentence to a criminal to remove the criminal instincts in him or her. But the law also provides for concessions like temporary release on parole to enable the prisoner to carry out family duties and other obligations.
Kode had convicted 100 accused in the blasts case, 12 of whom were awarded death penalty (the Supreme Court eventually upheld the death penalty only for Yakub Memon).
Dutt was sentenced to five years for illegal possession and destruction of an AK-56 rifle. The rifle was a part of the cache of weapons and explosives smuggled into India by the blasts conspirators.
His release on 25 February will be 103 days ahead of the end of his full prison term. Before the Supreme Court upheld his conviction in 2013, he had spent 18 months in jail during the investigation and trial phase.