Mumbai: Actor Sanjay Dutt on Thursday broke his silence on his sentencing in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case. An emotional Dutt broke down while speaking to the media and said he will surrender in the case and will not seek a pardon.
Dutt, who broke down several times during his statement to the media, said, "I am a law abiding citizen. I have the highest respect for the Supreme Court. I will abide to all terms and conditions. I will surrender at the time given. I have not applied for any pardon."
"There are many other people who deserve pardon. I want to tell with folded hands to the media, the honourable citizens of the country that when I am not going for pardon then there can be no debate about it," Dutt added.
Thanking his supporters and fans, Dutt also said, "Right now, I am a shattered man. There have been very tough moments in my life. I have got a few days left, have to finish a lot of work, want to spend time with family." His sister Priya Dutt was by his side during the press interaction and consoled him.
The apex court found the actor guilty of acquiring illegal weapons from those blamed for the bombings in Mumbai that killed 257 people. As Dutt has already served 18 months in jail, he would have to undergo the imprisonment for three-and-a-half-years. The apex court has given him four-week time to surrender.
Reacting to Sanjay Dutt's statement, Press council of India Chairman Justice Markandey Katju, who has been a supporter of the actor, said he will appeal for pardon for Dutt. "Sanjay Dutt may not appeal for pardon, but I am going to appeal. I feel he deserves pardon," Justice Katju said.
Sanjay Dutt's sentencing in the 1993 blasts case sparked a debate over whether he should be pardoned or not. While Bollywood has been unanimous in asking for a pardon, support has also been building for the actor in political circles.
Politicians and long time friends Amar Singh and Jaya Prada met the Maharashtra Governor to seek a pardon. 'Pardon Dutt' hoardings have also been put up in various parts of Mumbai. Other big politicians backing the actor are Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.
"I feel that he has already suffered a lot for the blunder he committed earlier. From being a complete wreck, he has again picked up his career to unfold his potential," Mamata said.