Sanjay Dutt gets 'final extension' of one month to surrender

Sanjay DuttThe Supreme Court today granted Bollywood star four more weeks to surrender and undergo the rest of his five-year jail term, which comes to three and a half years, for possessing banned firearms in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.

A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan granted the reprieve to Dutt a day after they rejected a similar plea by three other convicts in the case.

The apex court the granted partial relief to the actor on "humanitarian" grounds, a day before the earlier deadline for his surrender on 18 April. The bench however made it clear that no further extension would be allowed.

Dutt, 53, had urged the court for a six-month extension to allow him to finish shooting seven movies in which he said producers had invested Rs278 crore.

"Considering the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and reasons stated in the petition, we are not inclined to extend the time by six months. However, we extend the time by four weeks from tomorrow. It is made clear that no further extension will be granted," the bench said.

The bench also noted in its order that senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Dutt, has agreed to the same that no further extension will be sought.

The CBI opposed the extension of time but was silenced by the court which asked why the agency didn't file an appeal against Dutt's acquittal from charges under the terrorist act by the trial court.

In its order on 21 March the apex court had upheld Dutt's conviction under the Arms Act for possessing illegal arms. However, it reduced his sentence from the six years awarded by the trial court to five years.

Sanjay Dutt has completed one-and-half years in jail and has to serve the remainder three-and-half years of his sentence.

Dutt, the son of famous Bollywood couple Sunil Dutt and Nargis, was convicted by the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) court for illegal possession a 9 mm pistol and an AK-56 rifle, which were part of the consignment of weapons and explosives brought to India for the coordinated serial blasts that killed 257 people and injured over 700 in 2003.