Sanjay Dutt was 34 when he was arrested and spent 18 months in jail as undertrial.
On January 21, 1995, when he turned 36, he was still in custody at the Arthur Road Central jail, Sanjay, by then physically and emotionally drained, released a letter, which he had written from behind bars, to journalists who were reporting the TADA trial on a daily basis.
The letter reflects the actor's state of mind, then. In it, he has said his fate should be decided by the citizens of the country and not the court. The letter, a copy of which is available with the Hindustan Times, is an eight-page document that revolves around his family, and the state of political will behind his arrest.
The opening paragraph of the letter reads, "January 21, 1995, is my birthday but my birthday would be when I will be released from this chakravyuh and acquitted in the case". It then goes on to give details about his parents and his upbringing.
"I was born in a simple family. My mother Nargis Dutt and father Sunil Dutt were highly appreciated by the public. My entire family is thankful to you (citizens) for this. My father is known as 'Sunil Dutt saab' and you have given him this honour", it said.
The highly emotionally charged letter then describes his father's political career, "After my mother's death, my father devoted his time towards social work.
During the Punjab crisis, he had walked a peace march along with Priya to Punjab from Mumbai, then also he had received many threats, then he said, "If my country and its citizens are not safe then how can I along with my children stay safe in the house. We have to think about the country first and then our house".
It further states, "During the 1992 riots, Mumbai was like a crematorium ground. There was panic everywhere, police were manning the roads. I could not see the conditions and so I went to the corners of the city for relief work. I did not knew who I was helping, I just had in mind that he was a needy. I learnt all this from my parents.
"When I was helping the needy I realised that the riots were not among two communities but politically motivated. Though nobody was willing to listen to what I was trying to say but still it hurt the politicians. During that time I also received life threatening calls, but I believe in god so I was unmoved".
On March 12, 1993, serial bomb blasts took place in the country in which several innocent people were killed. One day when I was shooting in Mauritius, I got a call from the police saying they wanted to question me. Being a law abiding citizen I felt it to be my duty to be able to help my government in finding the perpetrators and putting them behind the bars.
I immediately left all my work behind and came to Mumbai. However, I was shocked to find out that the police had arrested me and it took me some time to realize that this was the handy work of senior politicians and evil minded people. The politicians had always wanted to spoil the image of my father in public. Thus they labeled me as a 'terrorist and anti social element'.
However, I was granted interim bail, then a major earthquake hit in Gujarat where thousands were killed and rendered homeless. I along with my other bollywood friends collected Rs 70 lakh for the earthquake relief fund. This again did not go well with the politicians and they using their powers cancelled my bail and I was behind the bars again.
In custody, I am living the life of a normal undertrial, I have no luxuries and the jail rules are applicable to me as they would to anyone else. I sleep on the floor without a blanket and have the food given to me in the jail.
"After going through such hardships, I don't plead before the court but before the citizens of my country to decide my fate. "Am I a terrorist or an anti-social element. If I am then I plead to you with folded hands that shoot me in an open place or kill me using and hand grenade. I will have no grudges against anybody and I am tired of living this painful life. Please kill me after which at least the politicians will be happy, and none of my family members will oppose my decision, I promise," says the letter.