Convicted under the Arms Act in the 1993 serial blasts case, actor Sanjay Dutt has at least two months of freedom before he surrenders.
The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) (TADA) court on Thursday told Dutt to not surrender till the final order is pronounced on his application under the Probation of Offenders Act.
The order will be pronounced along with the final sentences of all 99 convicts, which lawyers feel might take about two months.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam sought the maximum punishment for the actor under the Arms Act — 10 years for possessing an AK-56 rifle in a notified area. He contended that Dutt was a habitual offender as he had purchased a 9-mm pistol from a Dawood Ibrahim aide at RK Studio in Chembur in 1992.
However, the Rs 15 lakh AK-56 rifle was given to Dutt as a gift in 1993, clearly indicating that the actor was close to the underworld mainly Dawood and his brother Anees Ibrahim, who are proclaimed offenders before the court, Nikam said.
Wearing his lucky blue shirt, Dutt remained composed throughout the proceedings. However, when Nikam opened his arguments on the quantum of punishment to be handed over to Dutt, citing references from his confessional statement and linking him to wanted gangsters, the actor, sitting on bench behind Nikam covered his ears and kept shaking his head in disagreement.
Nikam told the court that he would commence his final arguments on the sentence for all convicts from February 14, and finish it in 10 days.
The court is likely to take 20 days to study all judgments cited by lawyers during the final arguments and pronounce its judgment.
Lawyers, who have appeared before Special TADA Judge Pramod Kode, opined that though the court is trying to complete the final sentence by March, it could not be possible as the application of the 69 accused seeking leniency is still pending in court.
Dutt is now likely to appear before the court on Monday when his counsel VR Manohar is likely to file a rejoinder to the arguments on Probation of Offenders Act.
Dutt who is accused number 117 was convicted under the Arms Act on November 28, 2006 along with his close friends Yusuf Nulwalla, Kersi Adejania and Rusi Mulla. However, all of them have been given time to surrender on the same lines as Dutt till the final sentence is delivered. Dutt is now likely to appear before the court on Monday when his counsel VR Manohar is likely to file a rejoinder to the arguments on probation of offenders act.
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