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Sanjay Dutt Walks Out Of Pune's Yerwada Jail With A Salute

Actor Sanjay Dutt, imprisoned in an arms case related to the 1993 Mumbai blasts, was released from Pune's Yerwada Jail this morning. He kissed the ground, saluted the prison and then hefted a large bag on his shoulder to walk away to freedom.

Here are the latest developments:

  1. "There is no easy walk to freedom, my friends," the 56-year-old actor, accompanied by wife Maanayata Dutt, said as he tried to make his way through hordes of media personnel at the Pune airport.
  2. Earlier, the actor, dressed in a dark blue shirt and jeans, walked out of the jail premises amid tight security and was driven away in a white SUV to the airport.
  3. Mr Dutt will first visit Mumbai's famous Siddhivinayak temple to offer prayers. From there, he will head to his mother Nargis Dutt's grave in Marine Lines before heading to his Pali Hill home.
  4. Posters welcoming him have been put up outside the home of the actor, the star of films like Khalnayak and the blockbuster Munnabhai series.
  5. Sanjay Dutt, who spent a little over 33 months in prison, walked out of jail around eight months ahead of time - the reprieve was granted on grounds of good behaviour.
  6. Yesterday, a petition was filed in the Bombay High Court challenging Mr Dutt's early release, alleging that the actor got preferential treatment when he was in jail.
  7. The actor's frequent breaks from jail had earlier been criticised as evidence of VIP treatment. Between May 2013 and 2014, Mr Dutt spent over 118 days out of prison.
  8. In 2007, Sanjay Dutt was found guilty of illegal possession of an AK-56 rifle and a pistol acquired from those involved in the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai that killed 257 people and injured hundreds. The actor served 18 months but then was out on bail, fighting the conviction until a court in March 2013 ordered him back to jail in Pune.
  9. Mr Dutt, who was cleared of conspiracy charges in connection with the blasts, had claimed that he had acquired the weapons to protect himself and his family during the riots that erupted after the blasts.
  10. Last year, a petition for his pardon, filed by former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju, was turned down. Sources said Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had rejected it on the recommendation of the state home department, which said it would set a bad precedent as the actor's conviction was confirmed by the Supreme Court.