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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

'Only an outside chance of Sanjay Dutt avoiding jail'

Mohan K Korappath, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 22, 2013
First Published: 02:22 IST(22/3/2013) | Last Updated: 13:25 IST(22/3/2013)

In all likelihood, Sanjay Dutt will have to surrender in four weeks.

The Supreme Court on Thursday partially upheld his conviction for possession of arms in the 1993 serial blasts case.

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Although there are a few more cards the actor can play, he must give himself up before he can think of using the remedies available to him, lawyers said.

Dutt can then move a curative petition for review of sentence, where he can point out things that have been left out or even argue on some new grounds, said criminal lawyer, Arfan Sait.

If the review petition is dismissed, there’s still some hope for him. There’s another option of filing another curative petition which involves a long-drawn out process, in which he will have to fulfil several conditions laid down by the Supreme Court.

And if this doesn’t work either, he can move a mercy plea before the Governor or President, since his bail will stand cancelled after Thursday’s judgment.

Dutt, however, won’t benefit from remissions since most of his prison time was spent as an undertrial, Sait said.

“Since the government has the power to suspend, remit or commute a sentence, the actor can also approach the Governor or the President with a mercy plea,” Sait said.

Former acting chief justice of the Bombay high court VG Palshikar said the actor can seek extension of time to surrender as well.

As for the review and curative petitions, he will have to fulfil conditions such as being certified by a senior lawyer after the the lawyer acknowledges that he has met certain requirements.

After this, the petition will be sent to senior SC judges for consideration on whether there is a genuine need to review the case at all.

According to senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani, the scope for filing a review petition is narrow as the convicted person, Dutt in this case, will have to show some error apparent or some new evidence.

“As for curative petition the scope is even more limited,” Jethmalani said.


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