Explain Sanjay Dutt’s early release, Bombay HC asks Maharashtra

Mumbai, June 12 The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Maharashtra government to explain in detail its decision to release Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt early from jail on grounds of good conduct.

A division bench of Justice R. M. Sawant and Justice Sadhna Jadhav directed the government to file an affidavit justifying its decision, what parameters were considered for letting the actor out eight months early, and the procedures followed while showing leniency towards him.

Dutt was convicted and sentenced to five years in an arms possession case connected to the March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case which he served in Yerawada Central Jail, Pune. He was released on February 25, 2016.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Pune-based activist Pradeep Bhalekar challenging the series of furloughs and paroles granted to Dutt when he was serving his sentence.

The court sought to know if the Deputy Inspector General, Prisons was consulted, or whether the Jail Superintendent sent the recommendation directly to the Maharashtra Governor.

“How did the authorities assess that Dutt’s conduct was good. When did they get time to make such an assessment when he was out on parole half the time?” asked Justice Sawant.

The matter will come up for further hearing next week.

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