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Which Power Pranab Mukherjee can use to pardon Sanjay Dutt Posted by: Nairita Updated: Saturday, March 30, 2013, 0:23

Mumbai, March 30: A day after Markandey Katju's move to send appeal to Pranab Mukherjee seeking pardon for Sanjay Dutt, another open letter by Shailesh Gandhi also has been sent to the President. Gandhi, the former Central Information Commissioner, in his open letter mentioned how the President may use his power under Article 72 of the Constitution and indeed pardon the Bollywood actor. In his open letter, Gandhi reminded the President how all below the age of 35 and above the age of 50 at the time of committing a crime could be pardoned automatically if the convicts are not terrorists. Here is the open letter written by Mr Shailesh to the President: Dear Mr President, I understand that worthy Members of Parliament (MPs) have sent petitions to you to use your powers of pardon under Article 72 of the Constitution. This plea is also reported to have been made by the Chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI), which is a statutory authority, and Ministers. The framers of the Constitution gave the President unfettered power to pardon any convict, without any reasons. It is also true that the Constitution did not specify who could ask for pardon. However, Shri Markandey Katju, a former judge of the Supreme Court, and chairman of PCI would not ask for pardon without any reasons. He is reported to have stated that since Mr Sanjay Dutt was not convicted under TADA, he was not a terrorist. Besides, he has stated that since the trial has taken 20 years, and Mr Dutt was less than 40 years of age at that time, he should be pardoned. To maintain consistency, he has also stated that Smt. Zaibunisa should also be pardoned since she is over 70. Though Mr Dutt has in a dignified and logical manner stated that he is not seeking pardon, this mounting cacophony from lawyers, MPs and the head of an important statutory authority may lead you to consider using your powers to pardon. Considering the impressive voices asking you to show mercy, you may be tempted by Portia's lines: "The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.... It is enthroned in the hearts of kings, It is an attribute to God himself; " to consider being blessed by showing mercy after some months. The constant repetition to you to show mercy and gain the attributes of God may continue for months. Since I too was a statutory authority a few months ago, I would like to add my advice to this. The fact that our Courts take decades to decide cases finally is well known. Everyone, including the Courts has convinced themselves that this can only deteriorate. If you use the power of pardon this time, consider using it in a logical manner, which should not result in allegations of partisanship. By the logic given by Justice Katju, cases in Courts can take fifteen to twenty years, and humanitarian grounds demand that senior citizens should not be able to suffer in prison. On the other hand, people below 35 can make mistakes due to lack of maturity. Taking this together, and to maintain consistency of action, I plead with you to consider recommending that all below the age of 35 and above the age of 50 at the time of committing a crime should be automatically pardoned under Article 72 of the Constitution, if they are not terrorists. It would look bad if you pardoned terrorists. There are no conditions in the Constitution when the President can use this power, and I believe if you use it in the manner suggested above, it will also reduce the burden on the judicial system. You could consider this act to be in larger public interest. The reduction of cases in the Courts, will lead to establishing the rule of law in our Nation, and Citizens will not have to complain any longer that β€˜Justice delayed is Justice Denied.' You may then find justification in using the power of pardon under Article 72 in a Historic manner. Yours truly, Shailesh Gandhi Former Central Information Commissioner


I feel sad for Sanjay Dutt: Dharmendra

| Mar 30, 2013,

Joining the Bollywood brigade demanding relief for Sanjay Dutt, the Deol family has expressed solidarity with the actor who has been convicted in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.

"I consider everyone in the film industry as family. I am hurt when anyone from the industry is hurt. I cry but don't make noise. I feel sad for him.... I am sure he will come out soon. I am sure God will listen to me," veteran actor Dharmendra told reporters at the first look launch of 'Yamla Pagla Deewana 2'.

His son Sunny Deol, who has worked with Dutt in films like 'Kshatriya' and 'Krodh,' is saddened over the Supreme Court ruling handing down five-year jail term to Dutt.


"I am close to him. We have worked together in quite a few films I am really saddened with what has happened to him. He has gone through a lot of pain," Sunny said.


"I feel sad as his wife and children will have to be away (when Dutt goes to jail). I hope things will be fine with him," he said.

Bobby Deol said he too is feeling sad for the 53-year-old actor. "We can't do anything about this. I hope he comes out of his situation," Bobby said.

Several celebrities have sought pardon for Dutt.




Mumbai, March 26: Former Samajwadi party leader Amar Singh and party MP Jaya Prada Tuesday called on Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan seeking pardon for actor Sanjay Dutt, who has been sentenced to five years in jail.

The Supreme Court March 21 upheld Dutt's conviction for illegal possession of arms in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blast case.

In a representation to the governor, Jaya Prada said Dutt had been absolved of terrorism charges. She urged him to exercise his discretionary power to grant the actor relief citing his background, contribution to cinema and good conduct in the last 20 years.

Stating that many other eminent people including Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju have sought pardon for Dutt, the representation said he hailed from a family that has served the nation.

A letter from Sevagram Ashram Pratishthan, a Gandhian ashram from the state, was also attached with the representation.

It said the ashram appreciated the fact that through his cinematic art, Dutt has propagated the message of Mahatma Gandhi, which had a visible influence on the life of young generation.

Amar Singh and Jaya Prada earlier met Dutt, who was given four weeks' time by the court to surrender.




Sanjay Dutt has suffered enough; I’ll personally go to the governor: Jaya Bachchan

Last Updated: Friday, March 22, 2013,


Sanjay Dutt has suffered enough; I’ll personally go to the governor: Jaya Bachchan Zeenews Bureau

Delhi: A day after the Supreme Court passed its verdict on the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts – the deadliest terror attack in the country till date, including sentencing Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt to a five years’ rigorous imprisonment, several people from the film fraternity have broken out in support of the actor.


The latest in the group of stars who have shown solidarity for Dutt is veteran actress Jaya Bachchan, Member of Parliament, Samajwadi Party. The yesteryears’ star has been quoted as saying, β€œI will personally go to the governor and appeal for Sanjay Dutt`s release. He has suffered enough.”

Sanjay Dutt’s imprisonment sentence comes in the wake of his 1993 β€˜mistake’ – the actor was found in possession of illegal arms. The β€˜Munna Bhai’ actor is to file a review petition March 22, and has the option of submitting a curative petition in case his review petition is dismissed by the Supreme Court.

The last option that the actor would have, in case the curative petition too is rejected, is the intervention of the Governor of Maharashtra. The Maharashtra Governor, in turn along with the government of Maharashtra, can appeal for the actor’s sentence to be reviewed.

While almost all of the Hindi film industry have been heard and seen coming out strongly in support of Sanjay Dutt, the son of late superstars Sunil Dutt and Nargis, common people have taken to offering their prayers at religious places. The Ajmer Dargah saw many footfalls, on March 22, praying for Sanjay Dutt’s release. Online petitions, too, have been filed in favour of dismissal of the actor’s imprisonment sentence.

First Published: Friday, March 22, 2013, 14:38



Why Sanjay Dutt doesn’t deserve a pardon

by Mar 29, 2013


Subhash Ghai’s Khalnayak with Sanjay Dutt in the lead role released on June 15, 1993. This was around two months after Dutt was first arrested on April 19, 1993, for his involvement in the Bombay bomb blasts which happened on March 12, 1993 (Bombay is now Mumbai).

The story goes that Ghai had shot multiple ends for the movie, and after Dutt’s arrest he used the one which showed Ballu, the character played by Dutt, in a positive light.

That’s the thing with reel life, if the director does not like the end, he can change it. Real life should work a little differently, that’s what you and I might think. But it doesn’t always work like that. At least, not if you are Sanjay Dutt.
On March 21, 2013, the Supreme Court of India, convicted Dutt for illegal possession of arms and sentenced him to five years in prison.

Between then and now a small cottage industry seems to have evolved which is trying to tell the world that Dutt is innocent and is trying to change the end of a long judicial process which has finally delivered some justice.

This cottage industry includes those working with him in the Hindi film industry. They cannot believe that Sanju Sir, as they like to call him, will have to go to jail. Rakhi Sawant, who is largely famous for what the Hindi film industry refers to as item numbers, has even volunteered to go to jail instead of Dutt.

Sanjay Dutt at a press conference after he was sentenced. AFP.

Sanjay Dutt at a press conference after he was sentenced. AFP.

β€œIf there is any provision in the law, then I’d like to request the court to send me to jail in place of Sanjay. Not because he is a big actor today, but because he has a family and kids at home to take care of,” she has remarked.

Support has also come in from Marakandey Katju, Chairman of the Press Council of India, who on other occasions has spoken out strongly against media’s obsession with celebrities. Katju is also a former judge of Supreme Court. He wants Sanjay Dutt to be pardoned.

He has offered various reasons for the same. In the last twenty years Dutt has suffered a lot. He had to take the permission of the Court for foreign shootings. He has two small children. And to top it Dutt has through his film revived the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and the message of Gandhiji, the father of the nation. Justice Katju in his appeal to grant pardon to Dutt had also said that β€œhis parents Sunil Dutt and Nargis worked for the good of society and the nation”.

Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh has jumped into the rescue-Sanjay-Dutt bandwagon as well. β€œSanjay Dutt is not a criminal, he is not a terrorist. Sanjay Dutt, at a young age, in the atmosphere of that time, thought that perhaps the way Sunil Dutt had been raising his voice against communalism and favoured the minorities, then perhaps he could be attacked. So, as an obvious reaction of a kid to do something, if he has committed a mistake then I feel that he has undergone the punishment for it,” Singh said.

Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal, who normally goes cholbe na cholbe na against everything, has also come out in support of Dutt. β€œToday, I fondly remember Sunil Dutt ji. He used to come to my residence whenever he was in Calcutta. If he were alive, he would have no doubt made all efforts to see that Sanjay does not suffer any more. My heart echoes the same sentiments ,” the Trinamool Congress chief wrote on Facebook, getting nostalgic.

Let me demolish this arguments one by one. In 1993, Sanjay Dutt was 33, going on 34. He was no kid, as Digvijaya Singh makes him out to be. On the other hand Ajmal Kasab, who was recently hanged to death, was actually a kid, when he carried out the gruesome act that he did.

In the last twenty years Dutt has suffered a lot, feels Katju. But so has everyone else who was accused in the Mumbai bomb blasts case. Yusuf Memon, one of the accused, who will be serving a life sentence, is schizophrenic and the Supreme Court dismissed his plea seeking relief from his conviction and life sentence.

During the last twenty years Dutt managed to marry twice (Rhea Pillai and now Manyata earlier known as Dilnawaz Sheikh ). So much for him suffering. And as far as kids go, if people were pardoned because they had kids, nobody in India would ever go to jail.

The movies Katju is talking about are Munnabhai MBBS and Lageraho Munnabhai. Dutt did not make these movies, he just acted in them. The movies were the vision of director Rajkumar Hirani who also co-wrote them. In fact, Dutt was not even supposed to play the role of Munnabhai in Munnabhai MBBS. The original choice was Shah Rukh Khan, who later declined due to a back injury. So Sanjay Dutt was simply lucky to have first landed and then played the role which made Gandhi fashionable again. And that is no reason to let him go.

Digivijaya Singh in his statement seems to be justifying Sanjay Dutt possessing illegal weapons for self defence. What he forgets is that we are not talking about some desi katta or a revolver here. We are talking about AK-56 rifles. It’s worth remembering that the year was 1993 and not 2013. β€œAnd AKs were not weapons you almost ever saw outside some militant districts in Punjab and Kashmir,” writes Shekhar Gupta in a column in The Indian Express.

And as far as the nostalgia of Mamata Banerjee goes there are people who might still feel nostalgic about the late Head Constable Ibrahim Kaskar of Mumbai police. As S Hussain Zaidi writes in Dongri to Dubai – Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia: β€œIn the predominantly Muslim stronghold of Dongri, Ibrahim’s baithak was the first place people went to if they had a problem. It was privy to everything-from people discussing their choking lavatory drain to the excitement of the elopement of lovers or cases of police harassment.”

Kaskar’s son is Dawood Ibrahim. So should sons committing crimes be let go because there fathers happened to be nice men? Maybe Justice Katju and Mamata Banerjee can give us an answer to that.

In fact, it would be safe to say that Sanjay Dutt was very lucky not be convicted under the the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (or what we better know as TADA). Dutt was arrested in 1993, for acquiring three AK-56s rifles, nine magazines, 450 cartridges and over 20 hand grenades. One doesn’t need so many weapons and ammunition for self defence. This despite the fact that Dutt already had three licensed weapons. And when was the last time you heard anyone keeping hand grenades at home for self protection?

Some of these weapons were later stored at the home of a woman called Zaibunissa Kazi. This included two of the three AK-56s rifles that Dutt had got. Kazi was convicted under TADA. Same was the case with Baba Mussa Chauhan and Samir Hingora, who delivered the consignment of arms to Dutt’s house. And so was Manzoor Ahmed, whose car was used to ferry the arms out of Dutt’s residence.

But the special TADA court did not convict Dutt under TADA. This is very ironical given that those who got the arms to Dutt’s house were convicted under TADA. So was the women in whose house the arms were placed, after they were moved from Dutt’s house. He had also admitted to being directly in touch with Anees Ibrahim, the main conspirator Dawood Ibrahim’s younger brother. Further, CBI did not challenge the TADA court’s decision which relieved Dutt of charges under TADA, in the Supreme Court.

In fact Satish Manishinde, Dutt’s lawyer later admitted in front of a spy camera in a sting operation carried out by Tehelka that β€œThe moment she (Zaibunissa Kazi) was convicted, I thought Sanjay too would be convicted under TADA .” No wonder Kazi’s daughter feels β€œβ€I wish I was a celebrity or my mother was a celebrity or a sister of an MP. Even my mother would have got the kind of support Sanjay Dutt is getting. If it is on humanitarian grounds then why only Sanjay Dutt, why not Zaibunisa. Isn’t she a human? Isn’t she a citizen of this country?”

As a line from the song Yaaram written by Gulzar, from the still to be released Ek Thi Daayan goes β€œkoi khabar aayi na pasand to end badal denge”. Everyone who is trying to appeal for a pardon for Sanjay Dutt is trying to change the end of a long judicial process which has finally delivered some justice.

To conclude, let me say this loudly and emphatically, if Sanjay Dutt is innocent, then I am Amitabh Bachchan.

(Vivek Kaul is a writer. He tweets @kaul_vivek)



Dear Justice Katju, Your Reasons Justifying Pardon For Sanjay Dutt Are Ridiculous! Here’s Why: By Shobhit Agarwal


His reasons -

1. β€˜The event is 20 years old and Sanjay Dutt has suffered a lot, having to make periodic court appearances, asking for permissions to go to foreign shoots’ –


What about the suffering of those 257 families who had to bear the loss of their dear ones? What about the sufferings of those 700 odd people for 20 long years, who, because of the blast, faced some kind of physical handicap or the other.


2. β€˜He has already undergone 18 months in jail’ -

So is that the new punishment to be given to every individual who conspires against the security of our nation?


3. β€˜He got married and has two children’ -

So the next time any person intends on undertaking a terror activity, he should get a family first and have kids, so that once he is sentenced, he can plead for mercy on the pretext of being a family man.


. β€˜He has not been held to be a terrorist, and had no hand in bomb blast’ -

Justice Katju, me and every Indian knows how laws and evidences in our country are manipulated to protect people who exercise any kind of power. The trial itself is rigged with controversies and false-doings given the fact that, despite evidence suggesting otherwise, Sanjay Dutt wasn’t charged under the more serious TADA act instead of the ARMS act. So any more form of clemency would only justify the phrase β€˜andha kanoon’


5. β€˜His parents worked for the good of the society and nation’ -

His parent’s goodwill doesn’t give him the permission to aid and abet people having ulterior motives against the country. Moreover, by that theory, will a terrorist’s son be treated as a terrorist; no matter howsoever good he does for the benefit of the society?


6. β€˜Through his films, he revived the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation’ -

(Discarding the lameness of the argument) Most of the high-profile celebrities linked to terrorist are producers. So all they need to do is to put in their money on a film based on Gandhi, or some other spiritual leader, and on its credentials, have a free hand in going about bombing the various cities of India.

It is such kind of mindset which is a cause of worry. For way too long, those with any kind of power have exercised their resources to get away with the most appalling of actions while the ordinary Indian, is left to rot in the jail for years on end, for crimes as minor as theft and trespassing.

The law of the land should be the same for everyone, irrespective of their social and financial stature.


Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt seeks more time before jail


Sanjay Dutt
Sanjay Dutt is hugely popular for his role of a loveable gangster in Munnabhai movies

Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt has sought more time from India's Supreme Court before he returns to prison for his conviction over the 1993 Mumbai blasts.

Last month the judges ordered Dutt to surrender by 18 April after reducing his sentence to five years from six.

The star has asked the court for some more time to hand himself in, citing work commitments.

Dutt was convicted in 2006 of buying weapons from bombers who attacked Mumbai. He spent 20 months in jail.

The serial bombings killed 257 people and wounded 713 others.

Reports say the actor is trying to finish work on a number of films before returning to prison.

Dutt, one of Bollywood's most bankable stars, is hugely popular for his role of a loveable gangster in the Munnabhai movies. He has also dabbled in politics.

In 2006, a special anti-terror court convicted 100 people for the blasts. Twelve were given the death penalty and 20 others sentenced to life imprisonment.

Dutt, the most high-profile among the convicts, was originally charged with five offences, including criminal conspiracy and possession of illegal weapons.

The trial court found him guilty of illegally possessing a rifle and a pistol but cleared him of conspiracy.

The son of a Hindu father and a Muslim mother, Dutt said the weapons were necessary in order to defend his family during the Hindu-Muslim rioting of 1993 which followed the destruction by Hindu zealots of the Babri mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya.