Sanjay Dutt gets 5 yrs, Yakub Memon death
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Rejecting a request to release him on probation, the Supreme Court Thursday gave Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt a five-year jail term for illegal possession of arms in the 1993 Bombay serial blasts case, an attack it said materialised due to the training received by the perpetrators in Pakistan.
Dutt, 53, has served about 18 months in jail and has to serve the rest of the five years. The court refused to give him the benefit of probation since the "circumstances and the nature of the offence" were "so serious". He has been directed to surrender within four weeks.
A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan also confirmed the death penalty for Yakub Memon, a chartered accountant and brother of one of the key fugitives, Tiger Memon. The court said his "commanding position and the crime of utmost gravity" warranted capital punishment.
It, however, adopted a lenient view for 10 other convicts on death row for planting the bombs across Mumbai, and reduced their punishment to life terms. It said that while Yakub and the other fugitives, including Tiger Memon, Dawood Ibrahim and Anees Ibrahim, were the "archers", these "subservient minions" were the "arrows in their hands" and "their participation in the massacres resulted from misguided notions rather than extremism".
The court also awarded life terms to 22 other convicts under terror charges in its judgment, delivered in six parts and running into 2,198 pages.
The bench reduced Dutt's jail term from six years — given by a TADA court in 2006 — to five, which is the minimum punishment under the convicting provision in the Arms Act, but rejected his plea to either acquit him or grant him the benefit of probation.
Dutt, the son of Bollywood couple Sunil Dutt and Nargis, was acquitted of terror charges by the TADA court but was held guilty under the Arms Act for illegal possession of an AK-56 rifle and a 9 mm pistol, which were part of the consignment of weapons and explosives brought to India for the coordinated attacks that killed 257 people and maimed over 700.
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