Maharashtra Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao has reportedly rejected a plea filed by former Surpreme Court judge Markanday Katju seeking pardon for Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt who was convicted in 1993 Mumbai blasts case under the Arms Act of possessing weapons.
Two-and-half-years ago, Katju, in his appeal, had sought pardon for the actor under Article 161 of the Constitution, saying that he had not been found guilty of playing a role in the 1993 blasts and had suffered a lot. Katju had written letters to the President, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister Shushilkumar Shinde after a discussion with noted criminal lawyer Majid Memon and others in March 2013.
“Section 25 (1(A) of the Arms Act states that if a person has in his possession a prohibited weapon without a licence, he shall be awarded punishment of not less than 5 years imprisonment and not more than 10 years,” Katju had said. He also said that the power of pardon under Article 161 by the Constitution is different from judicial power as the Governor or the President can grant pardon or reduce the sentence of the court even if a minimum is prescribed.
The Supreme Court had convicted Dutt in 1993 blast case and was imprisoned in 1996 and spent 18 months in the jail before walking out on bail. The apex court, in 2013, sentenced him to five years in prison for the crime taking into account the 18 months that Dutt had earlier spent and he was to spend another 42 months to complete the five year jail term.
The Munna Bhai actor is currently out on a parole yet again as his daughter was to have a nose surgery. In December last year, he was granted a furlough of 14 days, in December 2013, he was granted parole for 28 days that was extended for another 28 days as his wife was diagnosed with TB, and also in October 2013, when he was granted a furlough of 14 days, which was again extended for another 14 days.