Dutt stays indoors, counsels satisfied with judgment

As the Supreme Court verdict in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case trickled in, actor Sanjay Dutt remained indoors at his Pali Hill residence in Bandra cancelling all shootings scheduled for the day.

Also, the actor did not speak to mediapersons stationed outside.

However, Dutt’s counsel Satish Maneshinde said: “I did speak to Sanjay after hearing the verdict. I accept the judgement as it is.”

Maneshinde further said at this juncture it would be difficult to state what legal relief the actor can claim, “but we will certainly study all legal options. Sanjay will abide by the order. It is not a long period. We had prepared him for the sentence long, long before and he has a strong will to go through the imprisonment.”

Meanwhile, reacting to other decisions announced by the apex court, advocate Farhana Shah, who had defended maximum number of accused in the case, without charging anything, quipped: “I was extremely happy and was relieved when I heard that the court has commuted death sentence of 10 out of 12 convicts. I am happy with the judgement that has come after 20 years.”

Noted lawyer and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Majid Memon, who defended several accused in the TADA Court, while responding to a query as to whether justice has been done with so many death sentences being commuted to life imprisonment, said : “Emotions and justice are two different things. Judiciary does not proceed on emotional premises but looks at the issue in a dispassionate manner in all fairness and wisdom. And this is what the apex court has done. Most of these young men were in their twenties and thirties...they were just pawns who hardly knew what they were being made to do. And more importantly, they have already served 18 to 20 years in prison and this is what I call fairness and wisdom...the apex court must have pondered and weighed all these factors before commuting the death sentence.”

On the issue of whether there still remains a glimmer of hope for the actor, Memon opined that Dutt can approach a larger bench for a review but as far as going to jail is concerned,  “he needs to get a stay in the case...and getting a bail in such review petitions is not an easy thing,” he said.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujwal Nikam, who had handled a major part of the case, welcomed the upholding of the death sentence awarded to Yakub Memon, brother of Tiger Memon. “The court, by upholding the death sentence and mentioning Pakistan, will certainly bring diplomatic pressure on our neighbour to hand over Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim,” Nikam said.

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