Mumbai: Sanjay Dutt, who has been ordered by the Supreme Court to return to jail to complete a five year sentence in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, on Thursday said he has not sought any pardon and will surrender in time.

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Amid a growing clamour for his clemency, the 53-year-old Bollywood actor said, "All I can tell you is I have not applied for pardon. There are many other people who deserve pardon. I want to tell with folded hands to the media, the honourable citizens of the country that when I am not going for pardon then there can be no debate about it," said Dutt, who broke down during his interaction with the press here.

The actor, who has been handed down five years imprisonment by the Supreme Court in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, said he had the highest respect for the Apex Court and will abide by all terms and conditions put forth by it.

"The honourable Supreme Court has given me time to surrender and I will surrender in that time," he said as sister and MP Priya Dutt comforted him. As Dutt has already served 18 months in jail, he would have to undergo the imprisonment for three-and-a-half-years. The Apex Court has given him four-week time to surrender.

"I am shattered and this is a tough time in my life. With folded hands I request the media and citizens let me be at peace," he said. Several noted personalities including Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju and actor-turned-politicians Jaya Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha had sought pardon for Sanjay Dutt.
    
When pointed out that Dutt will not seek clemency, Katju, however, said he will go ahead and apply for his pardon. Katju had said Dutt should be pardoned under Article 161 of the Constitution as he had not been found guilty of having played a role in the 1993 blasts and had suffered a lot.

REACTIONS

"We do not interfere in any legal matter of any sort whether it is by intervention or by remarks. The court delivers judgements and whatever judgement the courts deliver, we respect that," Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said. He said the Congress does not comment on such matters and never "interferes or intervenes" in legal proceedings in any manner.

BJP MP Balbir Punj said the law must be allowed to take its own course in Dutt's case. "In fact, the court has been soft on Dutt and whatsoever punishment has been given to him as a law abiding citizen, he must respect the court's judgement," Punj said.

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy said it would be a "very sensible thing" for Dutt to serve his sentence. "He has to undergo the sentence for confabulating and mixing with those Indians know to be anti-India like Dawood Ibrahim, Chota Shakeel, Anees Ibrahim...So he has to undergo the sentence," Swamy said. He maintained that it was not a big sentence. "It is only three and a half years. He can do many good things in jail.... Pardon is impossible," Swamy said.

(JPN/Agencies/MiD Day)

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