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Tearful Bollywood star Dutt to return to jail


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Sanjay Dutt breaks down after addressing media personnel as he announced that he was abandoning his battle to avoid being sent back to jail for buying weapons from Mumbai gangsters—Photo by AFP

MUMBAI: Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt broke down in tears on Thursday as he announced that he was abandoning his battle to avoid being sent back to jail for buying weapons from Mumbai gangsters.

Supporters had been urging Dutt to apply for a pardon after India's Supreme Court last week sentenced him to five years for buying firearms from mafia bosses who orchestrated a series of bombings in 1993 which killed 257 people.

But in an emotional press conference, flanked by family members, Dutt said he would accept his fate and surrender to prison authorities before a deadline expires in three weeks' time.

“I will surrender...the court has given me time,” Dutt told reporters.

“With folded hands, I want to tell the media and the citizens of the country that when I have not applied for pardon, there is no debate,” Dutt said, while repeatedly breaking down.

“Let me be in peace till I go ... I have lots of work to complete,” he added.

He then hugged his sister and politician Priya Dutt, refusing to answer media queries.

Messages of sympathy and solidarity have poured in for the star since last week's verdict, with several high profile figures calling for the state governor to intervene and reduce Dutt's term on “humanitarian grounds”.

The 53-year-old has already spent 18 months behind bars after his conviction by a lower court but he was released on bail in 2007 pending an appeal, which was struck down by the court last Thursday.

Dutt, whose mother was Muslim and father Hindu, has admitted to buying the weapons but insisted they were only meant to protect his family during communal riots in 1993 following the destruction of the Babri mosque.

The actor shot to fame in the mid-1980s in a string of action movies in which he performed his own stunts, earning him the nickname “Deadly Dutt”.

He is best known for playing a mobster with a heart of gold in the popular “Munnabhai” series.

Comments (32) Closed

K G Surendran Mar 28, 2013 07:34am
While a lot of us have sympathies for Sanjay Dutt but the law and the court order needs to be respected, because a pardon for him can open up a Pandora's box which the authorities may find difficult to handle. Some high profile individuals trying to push his cause was in bad taste, and even if they were very sincere about it the attendant publicity that these individuals were seeking did not go down well, they inadvertently harmed his cause, if there was any. We can only pray that God gives him and his family the strength in the days ahead. ,
Balaji Mar 28, 2013 07:50am
He didn't buy it from gangsters... but terrorists who terrorised mumbai..
Amit Mar 28, 2013 07:56am
Big Deal, why all the fuss about Sanjay Dutt. He is paying for what he did , no one is talking about the 71yr old Zaibunissa Kazi who is punished for similar charges as Sanjay. Just that she is not as rich and a Bollywood celeb with political connections
zahid malik Mar 28, 2013 08:24am
States penalize who abandon the guns. Sanjay is paying excessive price just for buying guns. What about those who killed thousands and were never arrested? Because they still hold in their hands.
Sach baat Mar 28, 2013 09:18am
Nothing is bigger then rule and law ...well done India..I am proud to be Indian....
Pranab Roy Mar 28, 2013 09:30am
Sanjay Dutt should be behind bars. No Sympathy for criminals/terrorists.. irrespective of their cast creed, religion or status. Period.
zuma Mar 28, 2013 09:34am india law be same for rich and poor..there is no separate law for celebs..i appreciate Indian judiciary system..
justpk Mar 28, 2013 10:35am
Sanju baba kya hogaya ye
shehzad77 Mar 28, 2013 11:05am
Oh really
Nafees Mar 28, 2013 11:06am
Five years just for buying weapons? Did he use them to assault anyone?
Gerry D'Cunha Mar 28, 2013 11:15am
hats-off to the independent courts of india - courts in pakistan needs to learn lessons from them - here the rich goes free and the poor rots in jail - shame on the justice systems in pakistan
indian Mar 28, 2013 12:21pm
it does not matter whether he assaulted anyone or not. The fact is he broke the law and has to pay the price. The message is loud and clear - you may be a celebrity, but if you break the law you pay the price.
Asad Mar 28, 2013 12:59pm
I am no bollywood sympathiser but 5 years for possessing an assault weapon which was not used in any crime while in his possession? This followed a communal riot,wonder what happened to the 'other' party whose members were arrested with weapons too.
Islmail Mar 28, 2013 03:02pm
So the real criminals are out free and enjoying life while those who decided to stay and fight are throw behind bars. Some democracy India has.
beg Mar 28, 2013 03:30pm
you are hiding things under the rug and that is why corruption is so rampant in india
raja hindustani Mar 28, 2013 04:45pm
5 yr is minimum punishment for keeping arms like AK-56 in Indian arms act
raja hindustani Mar 28, 2013 04:46pm
5 yr is minimum punishment for keeping arms like AK-56 in Indian arms act
BEA Mar 28, 2013 04:46pm
Hes makinmg out like hes the victim here has he forgotten what he was involved in 257 people died in that bomb blast he was involved in i am glad that the indian courts gave him this sentance and not let him off because he in a so called movie star. he should have thought of the implications of what he was doing in 1993 when he was busy buying guns. if you cant do the time dont do the crime.serve your sentance and stop crying about it hes a big man just get on with it.
raja hindustani Mar 28, 2013 04:50pm
I am big fan of sanju baba like millions of Indians...I feel sad as his fan. but Law of land is supreme and it is above all emotion. he did crime and he deserve punishment. Under Indian Arms act he got minimum punishment, so this is not harsh punishment as many people are saying.
BEA Mar 28, 2013 04:50pm
I do not have any Sympathy for him hes not a child he commited the crime why do people seem to forget that 257 innocent people died, just because hes a movie star does not put him abouve tha law.
Shakirally Mar 28, 2013 04:54pm
Sunjay Dutt is a great person at heart, like his father Sunil. India is now also adopting a selective justice system. I still remember the time when Hindu extremists in connivance with the local police of Mumbai were killing and looting minority Muslim people, Sunjay was there to help the most vulnerable and poor. The perpetrators of that crime have become "Indian Gods", but this great person has been incarcerated. If possessing a weapon is a crime, 60% of Pakistan will be in it.
Indian Mar 28, 2013 05:10pm
Hey Dawn, Why do you need to quote the religion of his father and mother here. Does it have something to do with the crime or punishment? And as many assume, its not just possessing an assault rifle that cost him this. Had he not the political contacts, perhaps it would have been more severe.
Talat Mar 28, 2013 06:23pm
they should pardon him......he has already served a sentence over such a long period. aswell as the fact he never actually shot anyone. To wait such a long time was a sentence in its self. I hope they pardon him.
P,Mishra Mar 29, 2013 05:37am
Faraz Mar 29, 2013 12:11pm
What about those from whom Dutt purchased arms?
BEA Mar 29, 2013 03:19pm
He may have a good heart but where was his good heart in 1993, he did the crime so he has to pay the price hes a big man just get on with it all i have read is him crying and complaining about his sentance. too late for regrets.the sentance has been passed.
Kumar Mar 29, 2013 04:42pm
They should be. No one should have guns at home
Jester Mar 29, 2013 05:38pm
60% of Pakistan is suffering gun violence also. Ever wondered why Karachi is Karachi.
Mulla Ali Mar 29, 2013 05:47pm
I agree with Talat. They should pardon him. Police now should go out and catch those rapist and terrorists and put them in prison for life. Let's this man go.
cricketlover Mar 29, 2013 06:40pm
Hey you! What is so touchy about the mention of RELIGION of someone? Some people should be taught to take things in the right perspective instead of getting offended.....period!
khalid Mar 29, 2013 09:37pm
shikaree let me confirm that your statement is true.he is never incarcerated for any crimes.there was no pocession of any firearms.false rumours and stories to effect his reputation as a star of munna bhai mbbs class.i'm sure he helped poor people and there famailies god bless him for sure on that one.
khalid Mar 29, 2013 09:44pm
this man is powerful and strong in india your statement inregards to his status is not true.i guess you deserve sympathy from my end because you never figured out his calibre and class to point out such a crappy statement which effects the potency of my weakening balls.257 people and blasts probably he helped the famailies in that difficult period of time to survive or come back to life or may have strenghten or shouldered there famailies to cope up with that loss.nect