Priya Dutt, Lok Sabha MP and filmstar Sanjay Dutt’s sister, called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday to apprise her of the facts relating to her brother’s case.
Priya did not speak to reporters outside 10 Janpath after the 15 minute meeting. But she later told newspersons at the Capital’s Claridges Hotel that the Congress president heard her fully, was sympathetic and assured all help.
In the city to brief Sonia and take legal opinion on her brother’s case, Priya added: "We are seeing what could be the best legal recourse for him. Our main focus is to see what we can do to get relief for him." She indicated that a bail application may be filed shortly.
Before Priya called on Sonia, Home Minister Shivraj Patil and his Minister of State Sriprakash Jaiswal were at 10 Janpath.
Priya’s meeting with the Congress president is seen as significant as the AICC has refrained from taking a stand on Sanjay’s conviction even while the party is divided on whether or not it should.
Two Union Ministers, PR Dasmunsi and Kapil Sibal, have openly supported the actor a gesture Priya appreciated by calling them up from Mumbai. She reportedly even sought informal advise from Sibal, a noted lawyer.
The two Ministers publicly said, what several Congressmen privately maintain, that the party should stand by the family of late Sunil Dutt who epitomized the values of secularism and national integration and whom Sonia appointed convenor of Sadbhavana ke sipahi.
While stressing that he believed in the judiciary, Dasmunsi said that Sanjay has already suffered enough and his personal conduct and behaviour were an example to the young generation. "His contribution and mass appeal to the society through the film industry has been very poignant. All efforts should be made to approach and appeal at the highest forum of judiciary to get him relief," said the Information and Broadcasting Minister who also recalled Sunil Dutt’s contribution in promoting secularism and national integration.
Sibal too said the Congress should stand by the Dutt family in their time of "stress and trouble"
"Sunil Dutt, Sanjay’s father, was a staunch Congressman and he symbolised and epitomized what the Congress stands for. The party should stand by the Dutt family," he said, adding that he was speaking in his personal capacity and without going into the merit of the case.
But AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh saw no reason why the party should come out with a statement on Sanjay. "It is not a political issue. We feel sorry and sad (for Sanjay) and are sympathetic towards him. But I don’t think the party has to make a political statement on it," he said.
On Friday, AICC spokesman Abhishek Singhvi reiterated that the Congress believed that Dutt has the legal process ahead of him. "We have faith in the legal process. We are sure justice will be done," he added.
When Sanjay was arrested a decade back, the Congress had kept its distance from the case. But the Shiv Sena had stepped out to help.