The parole of Arms Act convict, actor Sanjay Dutt, has become a topic of political slugfest as the opposition parties in the state assembly have alleged that the actor was getting preferential treatment. Though Dutt had cited his wife Maanyata’s illness as the reason in his application for parole, media reports have shown that she was attending birthday parties and functions recently.
Senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Gopinath Munde has demanded that the parole be cancelled. “The parole given to Sanjay Dutt is in contravention to jail rules. This parole must be cancelled,” charged Munde, the BJP’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha and MP from Beed in Marathwada, adding that there was a controversy brewing over whether the reasons for the parole.
Taking note, state home minister RR Patil has ordered an inquiry to ascertain the basis for granting parole to Dutt. “The parole has been granted by the divisional commissioner. We are looking into the matter and have sought documents, which formed the basis for allowing his release on parole,\” Patil told reporters in Mumbai.
In Pune, divisional commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh tried to shift the onus back on the police which, he said, are controlled by Patil. He made it clear that he had approved the application based on reports received by the jail authorities as well as the assistant commissioner of police in charge of Bandra division.
“I had sent back the application made by Dutt seeking parole since it did not have clear recommendation from the jail authorities. I received subsequent report from the jail authorities on November 26 and a recommendation from the Bandra ACP and only after that the leave was granted,” Deshmukh told dna. Deshmukh also made it clear that he ensured completion of necessary documents, and that any prison inmate who is granted parole is told to report to his police station (Bandra in this case) twice a week. He also has to sign a bond, he added.
Meanwhile, Dutt could not leave Yerawada prison despite the approval as, according to the authorities, the actor is yet to complete certain formalities regarding a guarantor and a surety. ”We have received Dutt’s parole order from the commissioner. Accordingly, the process is on,\” Yerawada jail superintendent Yogesh Desai said.
When asked why the actor was not released on Saturday despite receiving an order from the divisional commisioner’s office as required, Desai said, ”We are required to complete other processes to which include verifying all his documents, sureties and guarantors apart from his medical condition etc. So far, Dutt has not completed the required procedure. Hence, he was not released.”
Sunday being a holiday, the actor would possibly be released on Monday. But now that the home minister has ordered an inquiry into the matter, it may also be postponed further.
The controversy erupted after Dutt was allowed to leave prison for the second time in just two months. Dutt had already been granted a month-long furlough and had returned to jail on October 30.
Alleging the jail authorities of favouring Sanjay Dutt, the activists of the Republican Party of India (RPI) staged a demonstration in front of the Yerawada central jail. Waving black flags and shouting slogans condemning the prison administration for undue favours to the Bollywood star, they demanded cancellation of his parole.
They alleged that special treatment was being given to the actor as he was influential and connected to powerful people. Dutt has been convicted of possessing illegal arms supplied by the perpetrators of 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, and was sentenced to 42-month jail term.