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Mar 22, 2013 at 01:18pm IST

Support, sympathy for Sanjay Dutt after verdict on Mumbai blasts case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday announced its verdict in the 1993 Bombay blasts case and sentenced actor Sanjay Dutt to five years in jail under the Arms Act. The actor has got support from not just Bollywood but also from political circles. Chairman of Press Council of India Justice Markandey Katju, too, pitched for pardon for Dutt. Katju said, "There is no doubt that the Governor can grant pardon or reduce the sentence. Surely, this is a lesser offence than murder. When the Governor of Maharashtra granted pardon to Nanavati, surely he can grant pardon to Sanjay."

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said, "I know a lot of people have made this appeal. My sympathy is with Sanjay Dutt and his family. He has already suffered a lot but ultimately this decision can only be made by the judiciary."

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SP leader Naresh Agarwal said, "I would like to appeal to the government to give some relief to Sanjay Dutt so that he can do something for the country."

NCP leader DP Tripathi said, "Even the Supreme Court found Sanjay Dutt not guilty of terrorist activities. I feel that the Maharashtra government should pardon Dutt and give him a reprieve. Justice Markanday Katju is right in his demand."

However, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam does not share the view. He said, "Do you think it is right for someone accused in a case for illegal possession of arms to ask for pardon? Is it acceptable to ask for pardon for such a conviction?"

The immediate course available for Dutt is to file a review petition in the Supreme Court within four weeks. If the review petition is dismissed or rejected by the court, a curative petition can also be filed. In a curative petition the lawyer will need to present a new fact related to the case not presented before the court earlier. The last option before Dutt will be of reaching out to the Maharashtra Governor who could remit his sentence. But that would depend on the recommendation of the State government.

The apex court found the actor guilty of acquiring illegal weapons from those blamed for the bombings in Mumbai that killed 257 people and was given four weeks to surrender.