Holding that it was not inclined to grant six months’ time as sought by Dutt to complete his pending film projects, the apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan gave him four weeks to surrender, saying no further extension will be given.
The four weeks’ time, the court said, will start from April 18. At the outset of the hearing, the court told senior lawyer Harish Salve: “You can’t say that your client (Dutt) was unaware of his conviction and pending appeal before the Supreme Court.”
The court said that “not only yourself (Salve), all those who invested Rs.278 crore in Dutt’s film projects, were they not aware that a judgment is reserved in the appeal by the Bollywood actor?”.
At the outset of the hearing, Salve told the court that he was not raising any legal ground and was seeking an extension of time to surrender purely on humanitarian grounds.
Appearing for the CBI, Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval opposed Dutt’s plea for six months to complete his pending film projects before surrendering, saying that the same plea will be used as a precedent by other convicts for seeking enhancement of time to surrender.
He said that only a day earlier on Tuesday the court rejected the review petitions by the five convicts in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blast case.
The apex court had pronounced its order on March 21. While upholding Dutt’s conviction under the Arms Act for possessing illegal arms, the court reduced his sentence from six to five years. The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court had sentenced him to undergo six years’ imprisonment.
Sanjay Dutt has already completed one-and-half years in jail, thus he has to serve the remainder three-and-half years’ sentence.