Maharashtra government on Friday ordered a probe into grant of repeated leave of furlough to Sanjay Dutt, serving term in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, following "information" about preferential treatment being extended to the actor by the authorities.
"I have information that 4-5 people have requested for furlough and out of them he (Dutt) is the only one who has been repeatedly granted furloughs. We need to find out under which law has he been granted this and, if he has been extended this facility, why has the same law not been applied to others," minister of state for home Ram Shinde said.
Shinde said he has asked DIG (prisons), Pune, to hold inquiry and submit a report.
"If Sanjay Dutt is released on furlough and others are not, an inquiry needs to be done on what basis he has been granted furlough," he told PTI.
The 55-year-old actor, convicted in the blasts case for illegally possessing an AK 56 rifle and destroying it, was released on a 14-day furlough by the Yerawada Central Jail authorities on Wednesday.
"I have information that Sanjay Dutt is repeatedly being granted furloughs, while other prisoners are being denied their right. Law has to be equal for everybody and all will be given an equal treatment," Shinde said, adding it will be ascertained if rules had been flouted by certain officials to release the actor.
Dutt had been given a leave of furlough in October 2013 for 28 days on medical grounds, followed by a similar leave for 28 days in December 2013, to tend to his ailing wife Manyata.
A major controversy had erupted when newspapers published photographs of Manyata purportedly attending the screening of a film as also a celebrity birthday party, raising questions about the actor's claim regarding her illness.
Angry at alleged "favouritism" being shown towards Dutt, activists of the Republican Party of India had also staged a demonstration in front of the Yerawada Jail.
Dutt is undergoing the remainder of his five-year jail term for possessing illegal firearm that was part of a cache of weapons meant to be used during the 1993 blasts.