Marriage, kids and involvement in charitable activities, nothing could save Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who was on Thursday ordered to serve a five-year jail term for possession of illegal arms in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.
To avoid going to jail, the actor had pleaded with the court to release him on probation citing his second marriage in 2008 and the two children aged one and one-and-a-half-year who need their father’s presence in their life.
“In the event, this Court releases the appellant on Probation under the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act, neither any injustice would occasion to anyone as the offence in which he was convicted, is not even a social offence nor any prejudice be caused to the prosecution,” his counsel had submitted before the SC.
But a bench headed by justice P Sathasivam rejected his prayer, saying, “The circumstances and the nature of the offence…are so serious and we are of the view that they do not warrant A-117 (Sanjay Dutt) the benefit of the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act…”
However, taking note of various aspects, the bench reduced his sentence from six years to five years rigorous imprisonment.
Dutt had asserted that he was not a habitual offender, and was not likely to commit any offence in future and the TADA Court did not get any opportunity to complain about the conduct of the appellant in 19 years.
He had also submitted that he suffered the agony, stress and trauma of long trial of 13-and-a-half-year, besides the fact that he had carried the tag of an alleged terrorist for the same period and had been deprived of the company of his daughter, which was a punishment in itself. He has also stated that he had suffered mentally, physically and emotionally in the last several years.
The actor cited his active involvement in an AIDS charity, fund-raising for the free treatment of poor AIDS patients and him being on the Board of Directors of “Save the Children Foundation” and helping in raising funds for orphaned children as their Brand Ambassador for a long time, even prior to his being charged in this case.
But the SC simply rejected his plea, citing the serious nature of the offence.