Row over Dutt’s ‘guest appearance’ | india | Hindustan Times
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Row over Dutt’s ‘guest appearance’

Facilities and extra security provided by J&K government to Sanjay Dutt, who was on a trip to the Vaishno Devi shrine, has raised controversy, reports Sumit Hakhoo.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2007 02:31 IST

WAS BOLLYWOOD actor Sanjay Dutt, who is out of Yerwada jail on bail, a state guest of the Jammu and Kashmir government? It would appear so, going by the manner in which the authorities here treated him once he landed at Jammu airport. Dutt was provided a red beacon-fitted government Ambassador car along with a police escort vehicle for his trip to the Vaishno Devi shrine. Officials, however, said the vehicle was meant for his sister Priya Dutt, who is an MP.

While the state’s Hospitality and Protocol Department denied having extended any help to Sanjay Dutt, the police department in its defence said they were unaware of his visit and that car was meant for her MP-sister. S.S. Jamwal, director, Hospitality and Protocol Department, told HT, “He was not a state guest and our department did not extend any help to him. There was no direction from the government to provide him facilities given to other state guests.” Jamwal said the police department had made arrangements for Sanjay Dutt’s security.

SSP (Security), A.S. Bali, however, defended the facilities provided to the actor, saying the police were told that the actor’s sister, Priya Dutt, who is an MP, would accompany him to the shrine and that the security arrangements were made for her.

“We acted on the laid norms and protection and escort was extended to him, keeping in view the security concerns,” said a senior police officer. He added, “There was a lot of confusion regarding the arrival of Sanjay Dutt. And till he arrived in Jammu, we had no information who would be with him.” While his arrival was marred by the controversy regarding the use of a VIP car, Sanjay Dutt returned from Katra town to Jammu airport in a Scorpio vehicle.