Katju appeals to Prez for Dutt's pardon

Press Council of India (PCI) Chairman Justice Markandey Katju on Thursday wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee and made an appeal to pardon actor Sanjay Dutt and Zaibunnisa in connection with 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.

In identical letters to the President, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Katju said even though Dutt has not requested for pardon, he is entitled to make such an appeal.

“I therefore appeal to you to pardon Sanjay Dutt under Article 72 of the Constitution (President’s power to grant pardon). I mention that Article 72 does not state who should send the appeal. Hence, even if Sanjay Dutt has not sent an appeal, I am entitled to send such an appeal,” he said.

Citing reasons for granting pardon to Dutt, Katju wrote: “He (Dutt) has already undergone 18-months imprisonment. After his release on bail it took him five or six years to restore his damaged career. During these years he was often ostracised by people as he had the brand of a terrorist.”

The PCI Chairman also sought pardon for Zaibunnisa Anwar Kazi’s, who was awarded five-year imprisonment.

“She is an old widow of 70 years of age. She has been operated for a tumour in her kidney and she has to go for regular check-ups,” he said.

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