Emotional scenes and high drama on Thursday marked the surrender of actor Sanjay Dutt before a special TADA court here for completing remaining 42-month sentence in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case.
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt looks out from his house before leaving for TADA court in Mumbai. (Reuters)
Clad in crisp white kurta and blue jeans, 53-year-old Dutt was accompanied by his wife Manyata, sister Priya Dutt, brother-in-law Owen Roncon and director Mahesh Bhatt. All of them, except Bhatt, went to the court along with Dutt.
The actor's vehicle, which pulled into the narrow lane of the city civil and sessions court in south Mumbai at around 2.30 pm, was surrounded by his supporters, reporters and camerapersons.
Dutt's fans in the crowd shouted slogans supporting the actor even as mediapersons jostled to capture the actor's photo.
Director Mahesh Bhatt first emerged out of the car and with folded hands requested the media persons to move away so that Dutt could reach the court. After much persuasion, the way was cleared for Dutt.
Once in court, Dutt was led by his lawyer Rizwan Merchant, who told special Judge G A Sanap that the actor was roughed up and pushed by several persons downstairs.
Dutt was sporting a red 'tilak' and religious threads around his neck and looked shaken.
After the actor bowed down before the judge he was asked to seat himself in the dock. Manyata, Priya and Owen followed the actor and sat with him on the bench.
As the court began the surrender proceedings, Manyata and Dutt held hands and were seen consoling each other.
Merchant argued that the actor should be allowed basic facilities in jail. "We are not asking for any luxury items. He just wants basic amenities like a thin mattress, a fan, medicines for arterial stenosis and high cholesterol and permission to move around the jail," the lawyer said.
Merchant said Dutt was a chain-smoker and sought leave to use electronic cigarette for de-addiction. "The electronic cigarette is also a medicine." However, the court did not allow that and instead advised Dutt to quit smoking.
Defence lawyers Rizwan Merchant and Farhana Shah made a grievance that the lawyers had problem in entering the court premises because of the crowd and police mis-management.
The court, after receiving complaints from Merchant and Shah regarding the crowd, rapped the police for its inadequate measures to handle the situation.
"Police should have taken care of all this. What if something goes wrong? You (police) should have coordinated properly," Judge Sanap said.
Apart from media persons and lawyers, several court staff and other lawyers were also present in the court room to catch a glimpse of the actor.
Several fans of Dutt waited patiently outside the court for the actor to arrive.
The actor is allowed to take these articles and use it for a month. However, after a month the actor as per the procedure needs to apply to the respective jail authorities for extension of these amenities and articles.
The TADA court has allowed the actor to get diet food to him and has agreed to his appeal to be provided with a thin mattress and pillow and medicines for a month
Dutt's lawyer Rizwan Merchant sought permission of the court to grant certain facilities to the actor such as fan, medicines, a thin mattress, pillow, home food and an electronic cigarette.
Rizwan submitted that Dutt was a chain-smoker and wanted to use the electronic cigarette for de-addiction. The lawyer also urged the court to allow the visits of family members of Dutt regularly to the jail. He also urged that the actor may not be asked to perform harsh jobs in the prison.
The judge told Dutt that he was allowing all the requests made by him except electronic cigarette. Instead, he advised Dutt to quit smoking.