No reprieve for Sanjay Dutt as court rejects last-ditch appeal
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt is set to go to prison this week after the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a last-ditch petition seeking a review of his earlier jail sentence for firearms offences during the Mumbai blasts 20 years ago.
The court's rejection of the curative petition filed as a last resort was on expected lines and means the actor must now turn himself into custody on May 16 to serve the rest of his sentence.
"He has now no legal options to escape from the jail sentence," Shivaji Jadhav, one of the lawyers present in court on Tuesday, told Reuters.
Dutt, popular for his role as a do-good gangster in the "Munnabhai" films, was sentenced to six years jail in 2007 for acquiring illegal weapons from men convicted for the 1993 attacks that killed 257 people.
He served 18 months but has been out on bail ever since, fighting the conviction.
In March, the Supreme Court reduced the 53-year-old actor's sentence to five years and ordered him back to jail, but in April the court gave the actor four extra weeks of freedom to finish some of his Bollywood films.
The actor was the most high profile of 100 people involved in the Mumbai bombings trial which ended in 12 people receiving the death penalty and lifetime sentences for others.
In 2007, Dutt was cleared of conspiracy charges in the attacks but found guilty of illegal possession of an AK-56 rifle and a pistol, which he claimed he required to protect himself and his family during a period of rioting in Mumbai.
Projects worth up to 2.5 billion rupees and the fate of several Bollywood movies hang in the balance with Dutt heading back to jail.
The actor has at least four films in the pipeline, including "Peekay", "Policegiri", "Unglee" and a remake of the 1973 hit "Zanjeer".
(Writing by Tony Tharakan)
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