Bollywood's links with underworld elements surfaced for the first time when Mumbai police launched a probe into the 1993 serial blasts and arrested actor Sanjay Dutt and filmmakers Samir Hingora and Hanif Kadawala.
Prior to the blasts, police had been tipped off a couple of times about the nexus between underworld figures and Bollywood personalties. But this was the first time when film personalities were arrested for possessing and distributing weapons which were sent to India as part of a terror plot which culminated in the blasts, said Rakesh Maria, chief of Maharashtra ATS.
Maria, then a Deputy Commissioner Police, had played a key in cracking the high-profile case in which over 100 people were arrested.
Kadawala and Hingora had jointly floated a film production company, Magnum Productions, and Dutt had acted in movies made by the duo. Hingora was president of Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association prior to the blasts.
A consignment of weapons had reached the filmmakers from Dawood Ibrahim, the prime conspirator of one of the worst terror attacks in India. The mob boss had told the duo to offer the weapons to Dutt.
Accordingly, they went to Dutt's house and showed him AK-56 assault rifles and hand grenades. Dutt chose to keep an AK-56 rifle and asked them to take away rest of the weapons.
Dutt did not use the weapon and kept it in his house. After the blasts, he got suspicious and asked his friends to destroy the rifle and also a 9mm pistol which he had purchased from someone else but for which he had no licence.
The actor was arrested and booked under the Arms Act and also TADA. He was convicted under the Arms Act, but acquitted of charges under the stringent anti-terror law. The trial court had held the Bollywood star was not a terrorist.
The Supreme Court on Thursday reduced the six-year sentence awarded to Dutt by the trial court by a year.