Sanjay Dutt's fate to be decided next week
Bollywood star actor Sanjay Dutt, awaiting sentence after being convicted for his role in the 1993 Mumbai terror bombings, was on Saturday asked by a special anti-terrorism court to appear before it on July 27.
The special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) Court having already sentenced 87 of the 100 convicts and it will now take up the sentencing of the remaining bomb planters, the four members of the the family of absconding prime accused Tiger Memon as well as Dutt and three others who are convicted under the Arms Act.
Asking Dutt to be present in the court on July 27, Special TADA Judge Pramod Kode said he would take up the sentencing of the remaining bomb planters and the four members of the Memon family before that.
"We will continue the sentencing of the Mahim Causeway group (of those who planted explosives in that suburb) on Tuesday and then take up the sentencing of the remaining convicts," he said.
Dutt, convicted under the Arms Act, has pleaded for relief under the Probation of Offenders Act.
It has been a long wait for him waiting for the court to decide on his leniency application ever since the 48-year-old actor was convicted in November 2006 for possessing illegal arms even as the court has absolved him of the more serious charge of terror conspiracy.
The actor, whose popularity soared to new highs last year with super-hit "Lage Raho Munnabhai", has been held guilty under Section 3 and 7 of the Arms Act for illegal possessing of a pistol and an AK-56 rifle.
If his probation petition is rejected, Dutt faces at least five years in jail. He had earlier spent 18 moths behind bars after his arrest in 1993.
"Now with just the sentencing of the last planter and the Memon family left, it is most likely that actor Sanjay Dutt's fate will be decided next week," special public prosecutor Ujjal Nikam told IANS.
The others charged under the Arms Act along with Dutt are Rusi Mulla, Kersi Adajania and Yusuf Nallawala.
The special judge said that he would require to hear the arguments of both the prosecution and defence and then prepare the reasoning of the order on the their leniency plea and it would take a couple of days.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which probed the bombings, in its charge-sheet said that the terror attacks were masterminded by India's most-wanted fugitive Dawood Ibrahim, silver smuggler Tiger Memon and his close associate Mohammed Dossa.
All three have been declared absconders by the court.
On the afternoon of March 12, 1993, a series of 13 explosions ripped through Mumbai's landmarks, spreading terror and destruction over a two-hour period, killing 257 people and grievously injuring 713. Property worth Rs 300 million was damaged.