Jaya to appeal for Sanjay Dutt pardon
New Delhi, Mar 22 : Bollywood veteran actress and Samajwadi Party parliamentarian Jaya Bachchan on Friday said she would personally appeal to the governor of Maharashtra to commute the jail term of Sanjay Dutt in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.
"He has already been punished enough. He suffered for 20 years," said Jaya Bachchan.
"I am going personally go and appeal to the Governor," she said.
A day after the Supreme Court sentenced for five years Sanjay Dutt to jail for illegal arms possession during the Mumbai bombings that had killed 257 people in 1993 in the nation's financial hub, clamour for pardoning him has gained momentum.
Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju set the ball rolling by appealing to Maharashtra Governor K Sankarnarayanan to pardon Sanjay Dutt, who was sentenced for illegal weapons' possession.
Katju sought pardon for Dutt under Article 161 of the Constitution, saying the actor had not been found guilty of playing a role in the 1993 blasts and had suffered a lot.
"There is no doubt that the Governor can grant pardon or reduce the sentence. In the case of Commander Nanavati, who was held guilty of murder, the Governor gave him pardon although the minimum sentence for murder is life term," Katju said in a statement.
However, some political leaders and groups have criticised the move to get pardon for Dutt.
Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy said he would move the court if any such action to pardon him through the governor was taken.
"Why would the Supreme Court verdict by overturned? These are very good judges and one of them would be chief justice soon," he said.
"If that kind of thing happens I will have to challenge it in the court," said Swamy.
Legal eagle and BJP leader Ram Jethmalani said Dutt was actually let off lightly.
Another BJP leader Balbir Punj said pardoning him because his father was linked to the ruling party would send a wrong message and undermine Indian democracy.
Dutt, who is the son of late legendary actor couple Nargis Dutt and Sunil Dutt, was accused of illegal possession of arms as lethal as an AK-56 rifle. He was, however, acquitted of graver charges under TADA or the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act.
Effectively Sanjay Dutt will now have to spend three years and eight months in jail.
Dutt was given four weeks to surrender though he is likely to file a review petition.
On March 12, 1993, twelve coordinated blasts in Bombay Stock Exchange, Air India Building at Nariman Point and hotels Sea Rock and Juhu Centaur resulted in death of at least 257 people and injury to more than 700.
It was alleged that the blasts were the instruments to avenge the demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya in December 1992 and were allegedly conspired by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim (believed to be hiding in Pakistan now) and two other terrorists-Tiger Memon and his brother Yakub Memon.