Katju tried getting Sanjay Dutt out of jail earlier than schedule

The former Supreme Court judge and chairman of Press council Markanday Katju’s yet another attempt to help actor Sanjay Dutt walk out of jail earlier than schedule was turned down by the President last week.

Justice Katju had sought commutation of Dutt’s sentence on the grounds that he through his movies has contributed to social causes and should get benefit of it. The request, however, was first turned down by the governor of Maharashtra and then by the President.

However, if the plea would have been accepted Dutt — who is scheduled to walk out of jail on February 25 — would have been released from the jail by now.
In 2013, following the Supreme Court upholding the sentencing of Dutt to five-year imprisonment in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, Katju had filed an appeal to Maharashtra governor to pardon the actor. In a statement Katju sought pardon for Dutt under Article 161 of the constitution saying that he had not been found guilty of having played a role in the 1993 blasts and had suffered a lot.
“Dutt had committed an offence there were extenuating circumstances like that the event happened 20 years ago. During this period, Sanjay suffered a lot and had a cloud hovering over his head throughout. He had to undergo various tribulations and indignities during this period. He had to go to court often, he had to take the permission of the court for foreign shootings, and he could not get bank loans,” Katju has said in Dutt’s support. He also pointed out that through his films he had revived the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and the message of Gandhiji, an apparent reference to “Gandhigiri” in Munnabhai films.
Early this month, minister for state (home) Ranjit Patil had signed the file allowing Dutt’s release, without penalizing him for reporting late from his furlough in January 2015. Dutt was not found guilty of returning late to the prison.
In fact, he was in constant touch with the authorities, waiting for a final order on his plea for extension of furlough by 15 days, claimed sources.
“The state has accepted that the fault was at its end and Dutt has been exonerated of all charges,” it added.
In October last year, finding administrative delays and lapses in awarding punishment to Dutt by Yerawada prison authorities for reporting late from his furlough in January 2015, a sessions court had asked the home department to take a final call on the matter.