Sanjay Dutt surrenders before TADA court

MUMBAI: Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt today surrendered before a special TADA sessions court in Mumbai to serve the remaining three and a half years of a five-year sentence under the Arms Act.

Curious crowds and scores of camera crews had gathered outside his Bandra residence since morning and continued to be there till he drove out in the afternoon in a convoy of cars with his friends and family.

Dressed in a white kurta, with cropped hair and a tilak on his forehead, a visibly emotional Sanjay waved before walking hand-in-hand with wife Manyata towards his car.

The crowds continued to mob him even when his motorcade reached the sessions court complex in south Mumbai. As people strained to catch a glimpse of the star, Sanjay was unable to get out of his car. He could do that only after director Mahesh Bhatt requested the crowds to move back.

And the crowds still surged, leading Sanjay to get hurt in the chest, said his lawyer Rizwan Merchant.

Accompanied by Manyata and sister Priya, Sanjay came out of the vehicle and begged with the crowds to let him surrender. He declined to make any comment on any issue.

He was whisked away by security personnel inside the special TADA Court to complete the post-surrender formalities.

After completing these, he will be taken to the high-security Arthur Road Central Jail later Thursday, officials said. From there he will be shifted to another regular jail either in Pune, Nashik or Nagpur.

Police officials were tight-lipped about the final destination but said Pune's Yerawada jail, where he has spent time earlier, could be it.

Though Sanjay's lawyer demanded that he be allowed home food, mattresses and blankets, medicines and electronic cigarettes and be permitted to meet his family and legal advisors among other privileges during his 42-month jail term, the Central Bureau of Investigation said he should be treated on par with other convicts.

Special judge G.A. Sanap has permitted home-made food and medicines for a month while rejecting all other demands, including electronic cigarettes.

On Wednesday, Dutt had withdrawn his application seeking to surrender at Yerwada Jail instead of the special TADA court.

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He had cited apprehensions of danger to his life in the application. However, the reason for the withdrawal of the application is not known.

Dutt was arrested for illegal possession of an AK-56 rifle at his Bandra bungalow after the March 1993 serial bomb blasts.

He was arrested under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, commonly known as TADA, and the Arms Act.

He was later acquitted under TADA but found guilty under the Arms Act, and sentenced to six years in jail.

The Supreme Court remitted his sentence by one year.

Sanjay has already spent 18 months in jail in 1993-95 and another 15 months in 1995-97, followed by a brief stint of seven months in 2006-07.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected pleas of two film producers who had appealed for granting more time to Sanjay as a huge amount of money was riding on the name of the superstar for their films. An estimate pins Rs. 278 crore as the sum riding on Dutt's back.

Sanjay's brush with prison

First tryst with law: Sanjay Dutt faced drug addiction in his early years. He is also said to have spent some time in a rehabilitation centre. He spent 5 months in prison in late 1982 after he was accused of possessing illegal drugs. Later, the actor also spent some time in a Texas rehab clinic in the United States.

Mumbai blast and the allegations: The tragic 1993 Mumbai blasts changed the lives of several people, but for Sanjay Dutt, it has been the most pestering and worst case of his life. Riding high on the success of his movie Khalnayak, Sanjay Dutt was in for shock when he was named in the chargesheet filed in connection with the Mumbai blasts early that year. Sanjay Dutt was charged under special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) court under Arms Act in relation with 1993 Mumbai blasts. It was alleged that Sanjay Dutt possessed illegal arms that were delievered to him by terrorist Abu Salem. Dutt was also accused of hatching terrorist conspiracy.

The Bollywood actor was arrested in 1994 from Mumbai airport. The actor was charged under TADA (Terrorist And Disruptive Activities Act) and he spent around 16 months in jail before being released on bail in October 1995.

He was again arrested in December 1995 and remained in prison for almost two years. He was released on bail again in 1997. Dutt's Bollywood career suffered a lot as he could not keep his commitments of dates with various filmmakers during the time. His movies were releasing in meanwhile but he did not have any major offers in hand.

Mumbai blasts case: haunting revisit: The Mumbai blasts case was re-opened in 2006 and once again Sanjay Dutt spent most of his time (exactly 7 months) in jail. Sanjay was sentenced to 6 years jail in July 2007 for illegal possession of arms. The verdict, however, was a relief to Dutt as the court acquitted him of the terrorist conspiracy charges.