Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Dutt said, “I am not a terrorist…I was in jail under the Arms Act…Don’t call me a 1993 blasts convict.”
A smiling Dutt saluted the Indian flag that was fluttering on top of the jail building before he got into a car that drove him straight to Lohegaon Airport to catch a chartered flight to Mumbai.
Dutt’s wife Maanyata and noted film maker Rajkumar Hirani were at the Pune prison to receive him.
Dutt spent 42 months, a remainder of the his five year sentence in the Yerawada prison.
His stay was mired in several controversies relating to his frequent paroles and furlough which many alleged was granted to him as a special favour because of his celebrity status. During his imprisonment, Dutt was granted parole of 90 days in December 2013 and again for 30 days later.
But prison authorities refuted the allegations, saying his remission of 144 days and his parole leave was in accordance with jail manual and prescribed rules.
The Bollywood star was arrested on April 19, 1993, for possession and destruction of an AK-56 rifle, which was a part of cache of arms and explosives which landed in India prior to the serial blasts of March 1993.
During the investigation and the marathon trial, Dutt spent 18 months in jail.
On July 31, 2007, the TADA court in Mumbai had sentenced him to six years’ rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000. But in 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling but reduced the sentence to five years following which he surrendered to serve the rest of his sentence.
The actor was released today after undergoing remaining 42 months of his sentence as he had already served 18 months in prison as an undertrial at Mumbai’s Arthur road jail.
Best wishes poured in for the actor from his Bollywood co-stars and friends. Everyone wished him a peaceful life and a great career ahead.
“People have always written his obituary but he has bounced back. He has dazzled everyone with his work. This time too I am hopeful he will come out as a more stronger man…I think now on, this will be the best years of his life with new beginnings,” filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt told PTI.
“His wife Manyata wanted me to be at his home today. I think this is a personal moment for him and I don’t want to invade on this time. I would surely meet him soon,” Bhatt added.
“If I know Sanjay Dutt since “Vidhata” and “Khalnayak”.. he will come out this time with much more maturity and sense of responsibility as a human being and also as a bigger star onscreen than ever,” Ghai said.
“He wants to focus on his career as an actor, nothing else.. thats what he told me two months back,” he added.
Actress Juhi Chawla took to Twitter to welcome Dutt.
“Welcome back Sanjay ..!! Very very happy for all the Dutt family ..!!! Wish Sanjay all Gods blessings …..!!”