Mumbai, Mar 21 (PTI): Sanjay Dutt is a strong man and has accepted the punishment awarded by the Supreme Court “as it is”, the actor’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde said today.
Maneshinde, who represented Dutt at the trial in the 1993 blasts case in the TADA court, said he had spoken to the actor who will have to undergo three-and-a-half more years in jail.
“Sanjay Dutt told me I have accepted the judgement as it is. I have accepted it,” Maneshinde said quoting the actor.
The lawyer said though they will pursue the legal course available, “I am not sure what relief he can claim”.
“But Sanjay Dutt will abide by the apex court’s order of undergoing the sentence of three-and-a-half years in letter and spirit. Three-and-a-half-years is not a long period,” he said.
“We have prepared him (for sentence) from the very beginning. Sanjay Dutt is a strong man and will fight for himself,” Maneshinde said.
Meanwhile, the actor himself remained closeted with his family at his penthouse in Pali Hill in suburban Bandra. A battery of media persons was present outside the building for the actor’s comments but he has not obliged them so far.
On the Supreme Court’s observation that the case against Dutt was too serious in nature and his release on probation could not be considered, Maneshinde said, “The verdict is very unfortunate”.
Ujjwal Nikam, who had led the prosecution in the TADA court, said the Supreme Court verdict has to be respected. “After all, evidence against Dutt was taken into account. This is not for the first time that he had acquired the weapon. He had also obtained a revolver from a gangster during a film shoot. The apex court may have taken into account all this material,” he said.
Mahesh Jethmalani, another prominent lawyer, who along with his father Ram Jethmalani, had also represented Dutt in the case in earlier stages, said he personally felt sorry about the actor getting a five-year prison term.
“But law is above everyone else. If you break the law you have to suffer the consequences also,” he said.
To a question whether the relief granted to Dutt by the Supreme Court by reducing the sentence from six years to five was too low or too high, Jethmalani said he would not comment on that. “We have to respect the Supreme Court verdict.”
Film maker Mahesh Bhatt said it was sad to hear about Dutt getting a five-year jail sentence. He said everybody in Bollywood hoped that Dutt would get a reasonably good relief.
“However there is a small window still open,” Bhatt said and hoped that the actor would file a review petition before the apex court.