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Sanjay Dutt jailed for 6 years!
Bollywood's star actor Sanjay Dutt, on whose shoulders rides about a billion rupees in investment of the Indian film industry, was sentenced to six years in prison for illegally possessing "dangerous" weapons in the 1993 Mumbai bombings as one of the longest criminal trials in India ended Tuesday.
The 48-year-old actor, who has already served 16 months in jail, was immediately taken into custody to serve a "rigorous imprisonment" sentence and his bail bond was cancelled. Dutt, who wore a white shirt and jeans and a days-old stubble, appeared stunned.
P.D. Kode, special judge of the anti-terror TADA court, disregarded the actor's plea for leniency under the Probation of Offenders Act (PoA) for good behaviour through the last 14 years of the trial and refused to extend his bail.
The judge has been hearing the trial of the offenders in the serial bombings, then the world's worst urban terror attack that killed 257 people and injured hundreds.
Dutt, son of star parents Sunil and Nargis Dutt and whose sister Priya Dutt is a Congress MP, had been convicted under the Arms Act for possessing a 9 mm pistol and an AK-56 rifle that had been given to him in January 1993 by members of the underworld. Dutt was, however, absolved of terror charges.
Kode said being in possession of the weapons was an "imminent dangerous act".
"If you want to protect your family, you can take a lawful step. But an unlawful step for the purpose cannot be considered noble," the judge said, responding to Dutt's plea that the weapons were for self-defence and to protect his family.
"He not only committed a crime himself but also made others commit a crime by asking them to destroy the weapon," the judge added, as Dutt sat in a corner of the crowded courtroom with his head bowed.
Lawyer for Dutt, one of India's highest paid actors who starred in recent hits such as 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' and 'Shootout at Lokhandwala', said they were appealing against the sentence in the Supreme Court immediately.
Yusuf Nulwala, one of Sanjay's three associates in the case, was given five years for having destroyed the AK-56 rifle. Kersi Adajenia was sentenced to two years on the same charge.
But Rusi Mulla was given probation with a bond of Rs.100,000 and a surety of the same amount. He was directed not to leave Mumbai.
As the judge finished speaking, Dutt requested him to give him time to surrender and allow him to receive a call from his daughter Trishala in New York.
"I have conducted myself well for the last 14 years. You know me better than even my family knows me," an emotional Dutt told Kode.
"Please don't let the police surround me like a common criminal or a terrorist when they take me away," the star pleaded.
Kode said he would consider his plea. "I will meet you after lunch," the judge said.
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