A beaming Sanjay Dutt walked out of the Yerwada Jail in Pune early on Thursday, 21 nights after a TADA court sent him to prison for possessing weapons given by the accused in the 1993 Mumbai bombings. The actor reached his Bandra residence in Mumbai with hordes of fans waiting outside the actor's house.
Dutt, 48, was wearing a white striped shirt and blue jeans and sported short cropped hair as he stepped out of the prison gates at 7.15 am accompanied by his lawyer Satish Mane Shinde, who had arrived some two hours earlier.
Visibly happy that he was out of jail, Dutt shook hands with the policemen outside the prison complex and even hugged a constable.
He then waved to the small media contingent that had been camping outside the prison gates since overnight before speeding off in a car to the airport to catch a flight to Mumbai.
"He looked extremely happy," an IANS correspondent reported from the site.
At the Pune airport, his brother in law and actor Kumar Gaurav joined him and they took off to Mumbai after a minor tiff with journalists who insisted on speaking to Dutt.
Dutt was moved to the Yerawada Jail August 2 after the TADA court sentencing. On Monday, the Supreme Court granted him conditional bail but the court papers were struck at the Mumbai TADA court until Thursday morning.
Pune jail officials said that although they start functioning only from 10 am, they decided to let go Dutt early in the morning since otherwise they would have to deal with huge crowds.
Dutt's interim bail will also bring a relief, temporary though, to the producers he had been working for before being sent to jail.
Dutt has three films on the floor and is expected to be back on the sets soon.
Dutt had started Dhamaal a month before the verdict and had been shooting double shifts to complete the film before going to prison.
Other unfinished projects include Sanjay Gadhvi's Kidnap, which has Dutt in the main lead.
Shooting for Sanjay Gupta's Alibaug, in which Dutt is also co-producer, had to be cancelled after he went to jail.
Meanwhile in Mumbai, fans started queuing up outside Dutt's residence even before he reached there in a black car.
Security outside his house has been beefed up. Dutt reached there at around 8.30 am.
Dutt's sister Priya Dutt welcomed his brother. Several of Dutt's colleagues from the film fraternity were also present at the Santa Cruz Airport to receive the actor.