Sanjay Dutt: Yerwada's star prisoner | india | Hindustan Times
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Sanjay Dutt: Yerwada's star prisoner

india Updated: Dec 31, 2007 19:02 IST

The AK-56 rifle and 9mm Chinese pistol he had rashly acquired 14 years ago came back to haunt actor Sanjay Dutt in 2007.

In a year when he was soaring higher than ever before, with the two crackling Munnabhai hits behind him, Dutt was brought crashing down to earth once the verdicts in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case finally rolled and he, along with 99 others, was found guilty Twelve people got death sentences and another 20-odd life imprisonment, but frenzied media attention remained focused almost exclusively on Dutt. Handed a six-year sentence, he was moved directly from the courtroom to Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail and then, after a few days, to Pune's Yerwada.

It was not as bad as in 1993 when he was first booked and had to spend 16 months in prison. This time it was two manageable stints of three and five weeks, with bail orders coming to his rescue both times.

The outpouring of public sympathy must have helped mitigate the discomforts of a hard bed and a common toilet. Even jail officials made their awe of the star prisoner apparent. Nor did Dutt's reputation suffer, with the judgment making it clear that he'd had nothing to do with the blasts, but was only guilty of illegal arms possession.

Yet the Damocles sword above his head remains: what if the higher court to which he has appealed also finds him guilty, and he is forced to actually serve the six-year term?