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Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt held in Ajmal Kasab’s jail cell: report

Published May 18, 2013 07:35pm
Indian Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt (C) and film director Mahesh Bhatt (R) leave Dutt's residence to surrender to a special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) court  in Mumbai on May 16, 2013. —AFP Photo
Indian Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt (C) and film director Mahesh Bhatt (R) leave Dutt's residence to surrender to a special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) court in Mumbai on May 16, 2013. —AFP Photo
Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt is serving  the remaining three-and-a-half years of his jail sentence for possessing illegal weapons, in a case linked to deadly bomb blasts in Mumbai 20 years ago.—File Photo
Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt is serving the remaining three-and-a-half years of his jail sentence for possessing illegal weapons, in a case linked to deadly bomb blasts in Mumbai 20 years ago.—File Photo

NEW DELHI: Bollywood superstar Sanjay Dutt, who is in jail for arms possession, is being held in a cell built for militants where he cannot see daylight and wants to be transferred, a report said Saturday.

Dutt, 53, surrendered on Thursday to serve out the remaining three-and-a-half years of a five-year term in a case linked to deadly 1993 Mumbai bombings.

Dutt's lawyer, Rizwan Merchant, has demanded the transfer of the actor whom he said was being kept in the cell once occupied by Mumbai attacks gunman Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, according to the Indian Express daily newspaper.

Pakistani-born Kasab was executed last November, nearly four years after 166 people died in a three-day rampage in the Indian metropolis.

The steel bunker specially built for Kasab at Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail had no ventilation and the actor could not even tell if it was day or night, the lawyer said.

“He (Dutt) is not a terrorist” and should not be kept in such a cell, the lawyer was quoted as saying.

There was no immediate comment available from the jail.

The actor, whose parents were two of India's biggest stars, shot to fame in the 1980s in a string of action movies in which he performed his own stunts, earning him the nickname “Deadly Dutt”.

He was convicted in 2006 of possessing guns supplied by gangsters who staged the 1993 bomb attacks that killed 257 people but was freed on bail after serving 18 months in prison. In March, the Supreme Court upheld Dutt’s conviction.

He was cleared in 2007 of more serious conspiracy charges in the blasts, believed staged by Muslim underworld leaders in revenge for religious riots in which mainly Muslims died after the razing of an ancient mosque by Hindu zealots.

Dutt, whose mother was Muslim and father Hindu, was found guilty of possession of an automatic rifle and a pistol which he insisted were only meant to protect his family in Mumbai’s charged atmosphere following the mosque’s destruction.

After the Supreme Court upheld his conviction, the father-of-three wept and declared himself “a shattered man”.