News Flash (Tuesday, 1-45 pm IST)
with inputs from Reuters
Mumbai, Jul 31: The designated TADA court jailed Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt for six years on Tuesday for acquiring illegal weapons from gangsters involved in India's worst bombings that killed 257 people in 1993.
Dutt, 48, was cleared of conspiracy charges in the serial blasts in India's financial capital of Mumbai, but was found guilty of unauthorized possession of an automatic rifle and a pistol.
"It was an eminently dangerous act," judge Pramod Kode said. "With the punishment of a minimum of five years and maximum of 10 years it can in no way be a minor offence or of a less grave nature."
Dutt's trial has transfixed India and fans of Bollywood, the world's largest film industry by ticket sales. He has millions of dollars riding on him in films under production.
The actor is the most high-profile among 100 people, mostly Muslims, found guilty in the bombings trial, one of the world's longest-running court cases.
The 1993 Mumbai attacks were ordered by India's most wanted man, Dawood Ibrahim, a Muslim, to avenge the razing of a 16th-century mosque by Hindu zealots in 1992 and subsequent Hindu-Muslim riots in India, police say.
Ibrahim and his top associates have not faced trial as they fled the country soon after the blasts, police say. Ibrahim is believed to be hiding in Pakistan, but the government in Islamabad denies this.
Dutt's lawyers had urged that the actor, who found fame playing gangsters and anti-heroes, be set free for his good behavior during his bail.
But the court rejected the argument.
Son of legendary film couple Sunil Dutt and Nargis, the heavy-set actor has been on bail since 1995 after more than a year in prison during initial investigations into the blasts.
He is expected to appeal.
Rs 100 cr riding on Sanjay Dutt
Times News Network
Mumbai: Many in the film industry will be praying for Sanjay Dutt when the actor goes to the special Tada court on Tuesday.
Three films starring Dutt — Abbas-Mustan’s ‘Mr Fraud’, Sanjay Gupta’s ‘Alibaug’ and Sanjay Gadhvi’s ‘Kidnap’ — are now on the floor. The producers of the three films together stand to lose around Rs 100 crore if there is any problem with their shooting.
Besides, Dutt also has two releases — ‘ Mehbooba ’ and Indra Kumar’s ‘ Dhamaal ’ — this year. ‘ Dhamaal ’ is slated to be released on September 7 and ‘ Mehbooba ’ will hit the silver screen during Diwali.
‘ Dhamaal ’ is a comedy and, after the success of ‘ Munnabhai ’, there are many who are betting on the movie to make good money. ‘‘It is a comedy of the same genre and has a good supporting cast that includes Arshad Warsi,’’ a trade insider informed.
‘ Mehbooba ’ has been in the making for seven years now and is said to be complete. It also stars Ajay Devgan and is an expensive film, costing around Rs 30 crore.
But the other three films on the floor are not anywhere near completion. The shooting of ‘Mr Fraud’ has been on hold for some time as the producers are finding it difficult to get dates together from all the actors and the directors.
An insider in Ashtavinayak (which is producing the film) said: ‘‘Abbas-Mustan got busy with other projects, like ‘Race’, because of which the shooting of ‘Mr Fraud’ suffered. About 50% shooting of the film is complete.’’
Dutt has also completed 60% shooting of ‘ Kidnap ’ and is currently shooting for home production ‘ Alibaug ’. ‘‘But only 15% of the shooting of ‘ Alibaug ’ is complete,’’ a unit member informed. Dutt last shot for the film on Friday. It is learnt that ‘Kidnap’ and ‘Mr Fraud’ are being shot at a budget of Rs 35 crore to 40 crore each.
But Dutt is trying to ensure that his producers do not lose money because of his legal problems. ‘‘He hasn’t shot for another film, his home production (‘ Beehad ’), because of the case,’’ a unit member said.
Director Bunty Luthria said: ‘‘Sanjay Dutt is making this film in the memory of his father and wants everything to be in place before he starts the production. We have just completed the script of the film and will begin as soon as the dates of the other films are finalized.’’
Sanjay Dutt: An upheaval journey
Mumbai: All eyes will be on Sanjay Dutt as the actor walks into the TADA court inside the Arthur Road Jail.
Sanjay and three of his friends are the only ones left to be sentenced in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.
The actor was convicted under the Arms Act for possession of AK 56 rifles, the 13-year long trial is expected to come to an end on Tuesday with Dutt's sentencing.
It is the verdict everyone has been waiting for. Sanjay Dutt accused number 117 in the serial blasts case is among the last to know his fate.
Fourteen years ago in April 1993 when he was arrested, Dutt was a young actor basking in the glory of hits like Khalnayak and Saajan.
He was charged with receiving some of the weapons used in the blasts from Abu Salem and keeping them in his Pali Hill home.
In his confession Dutt had said Salem had visited his home in January 1993 accompanied by Samir Hingora and Hanif Kadawala, proprietors of Magnum Video, close associates of Dawood.
Dutt said he brought three AK 56 rifles, some magazines and 250 rounds. The actor said he kept only one and returned two AK 56s to Samir and Hanif.
Weapon to protect
Dutt said he needed the weapons to protect his family as they had received threats during the 1992 Mumbai riots.
But when he heard about the blasts and Samir and Hanif's arrest he asked his friend Yusuf Nulwalla to destroy the gun.
Dutt was arrested at the Mumbai airport after Samir and Hanif confessed to delivering the arms to him.
He spent 16 months in the Arthur Road jail before being released on bail in August 1994.
In November 2006 Sanjay Dutt was convicted but under the Arms Act and not TADA. He was cleared of terrorism and conspiracy.
Dutt the court said: ''was not a terrorist.''
Twelve years ago on October 18, 1995 Sanjay was finally free after spending 18 months in prison.
A release that was possible after his father late Sunil Dutt, a loyal Congressman turned to his political rival Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray for help.
At the family bungalow in Pali Hill Sanjay's daughter Trishala had just returned from school. Girlfriend Rhea Pillai was waiting with his sisters and family.
Lot has changed
Since that day a lot has changed. Sunil Dutt is no more. Priya is now a politician. Rhea Pillai has remarried and moved on.
But fate has brought Sanjay Dutt to the crossroads he was at 12 years ago.
From here it's either prison or a return back to his family like the homecoming in 1995.
Sanjay’s sentence will wrap up 14-year trial
A day before Sanjay Dutt received his sentence for illegal possession of arms in the ’93 serial blasts case, the actor spent some quiet time with family and friends on Monday.
Close friends insisted that though Sanjay felt nervous and apprehensive anout the impending sentence, he was mentally prepared for the worst.
“Though there is a sense of philosophical resignation in Sanjay’s manner, there is still a lot of anxiety over the final outcome,” a source close to the family said.
Sources say the actor has been in a very troubled state of mind and has turned to spirituality to tide over this difficult phase. “He prays regularly for his freedom and the happiness of his family.”
Though friends are positive that Sanjay will take whatever comes his way bravely, they hinted that the actor has been consulting his lawyers on how to best deal with a harsh sentence.
“We are hoping that the sentence will be favourable and Sanju will walk away a free man,” said filmmaker Sanjay Gupta. Meanwhile, family members are also keeping their fingers crossed.
“He is not alone in his ordeal. We have been with him throughout and want to see him happy and at peace once again,” said brother-in-law Owen Roncon.
Sanjay Dutt set for sentencing in Mumbai blasts
Mumbai: Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, convicted of acquiring illegal weapons from gangsters linked with the country's worst bombings, will appear in court on Tuesday for likely sentencing.
Dutt, 48, was cleared of conspiracy in the serial blasts in Mumbai in 1993 that killed 257 people, but found guilty of unauthorised possession of an AK-56 rifle and a pistol.
Dutt's punishment carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and fines, but he could appeal.
"I'm mentally prepared for any sentence, but please pray for me," Dutt told the Times of India newspaper last week.
His lawyers have urged that the actor, who found fame playing macho gangsters and anti-heroes, be set free for his good behaviour during his bail.
The actor has been on bail since 1995 after more than a year in prison during initial investigations into the blasts.
His trial has transfixed Bollywood -- the world's largest film industry by volume and ticket sales. Millions of dollars are riding on movies already under production which involve the star.
The actor, son of legendary Bollywood couple Sunil and Nargis Dutt, is the most high-profile among 100 people, mostly Muslims, found guilty in the bombings trial, one of the world's longest-running court cases, which ended last year.
So far, a special anti-terrorism court has sentenced 96 people, including 12 to death, mostly on charges of conspiracy, preparing the bombs or leaving explosives-laden cars and scooters at several Mumbai landmarks such as the main stock exchange, two crowded markets and a cinema.