Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, convicted of possessing weapons supplied by gangsters involved in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, walked out of Pune’s Yerawada jail on Thursday to a hero’s welcome by his family and fans.
Noise levels outside his Pali Hill home shot up to 109 decibels – double the 55 decibel prescribed for residential areas - but the cacophony couldn’t drown a few odd voices critical of the actor acclaimed for essaying the role of “Khalanayak” among others on screen.
“Spare a thought for Zebunissa Kazi,” tweeted Preeti Sharma Menon, the Aam Admi Party spokesperson in Mumbai, referring to the widow also convicted of hoarding lethal weapons like Dutt.
“She didn’t have fancy lawyers like Sanjay Dutt to lighten her sentence to Arms Act. So got TADA merely for having helped Sanjay Dutt dispose of a gun. No parole, no exit.”
Pradeep Bhalekar, an activist, challenged Dutt’s early release in the Bombay high court. His lawyer, Nitin Satpure, accused the authorities of double standards and said Dutt was given preferential treatment.
“While all citizens are equal before law, the state and administrative authorities seem to forget this often. Hence, while Sanjay Dutt has been granted a remission despite having jumped his parole twice, hundreds of convicts, some of whom are over 70 years old, or, some of whom suffer from terminal illnesses like AIDS, Cancer etc shown no leniency. They are not even granted parole,” he said.
“Dutt was sentenced to five years imprisonment and should have served the entire sentence,” he said.
But the critics failed to dampen the spirits of Dutt’s supporters.
Priya Dutt, Dutt’s sister and former Congress Member of Parliament said she didn’t want to revisit the 23-year ‘ordeal’ her family underwent.
“It was like a sword hanging on his head and he faced it all like a man. We all want to look forward for the life ahead. But I really wish my father was there to see this day, and we all miss him. Where ever he is, I am sure he will be very happy,” he said.
So were his friends from Bollywood such as director Subhash Ghai.
“I was always in touch with his journey of ups and down and felt he was always alone and still an alone man taking his life with his own mind and destiny. He has learnt a lot of lessons and is a matured man today to realize the truth of life. I look forward to make one good film with him under Mukta Arts soon. I wish him and his family all the happiness in life.”