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Superstar spends night in jail sans bedsheet, pillow or fan

By Probir Pramanik, IANS

Mumbai : Bollywood superstar Sanjay Dutt, used to a life of luxury, spent his first night in the Arthur Road Jail sans bedsheet, pillow or even a fan.

It was a frugal lunch of brinjal subzi, dal, four rotis and some rice that he had after he spent his first night at Barrack No.1 of the Arthur Road Jail here following his six year jail sentence. He was shifted from Barrack No.10 late Tuesday night for security reasons.

Dutt, who was brought to the jail Tuesday evening after being sentenced to six years' rigorous imprisonment for illegal possession of weapons in the 14-year trial of the accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial bombings, spent his first night in jail like any other inmate, said prison officials.

However, he was provided a blanket for the night, which all prisoners are entitled to, said the official who did not like to identified.

Lodged in a 90-sq ft cell in Barrack No.1, Dutt had to wear the regulation prison uniform of white shirt and pyjamas. Though he was not permitted to bring in extra clothes like jeans, he was allowed some luxury – he could get in his full toilet kit.

Though Dutt, 48, was permitted the luxuries of his favourite toiletries, he has to share his toilet and bathroom with eight other prisoners.

A chain smoker, Dutt is believed to have been allowed to take in a 10-pack of his favoured brand – Marlboro Lights. He has also carried combs, toothbrush and towels from Mumbai's ITC Grand Central.

"He had a frugal breakfast of sweetened tea and biscuits and a couple of slices of bread at 7.30 a.m. The regular jail lunch was at 10.30 a.m. He will be served tea at 3 p.m. and dinner immediately afterwards at 3.30 p.m., identical to what he had for lunch," one jail official told IANS.

The actor, who was initially lodged in Barrack No.10, was shifted to No.1 for security reasons in a late-night development Tuesday.

"Sanjay Dutt was shifted to Barrack No.1 from No.10 late last night, taking his security into account," said sources at the Arthur Road Jail Wednesday.

Barrack No.10 has high-profile inmates like extradited mobster Abu Salem and Mustafa Dossa, both of whom are being tried separately in the 1993 Mumbai serial bombings.

Incidentally, Dutt had Tuesday asked the special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Preventive) Act (TADA) judge Pramod Kode not to put him and his two associates, Yusuf Nulwala and Kersi Adajenia, in the infamous 'andda' (egg-shaped) cell of Arthur Road prison.

"The actor spent an uneventful night, while his two friends, Nulwala and Adajenia, were shifted to Barrack No.8," the source said.

Barrack No.1 has one big cell with around 30 prisoners, and three small cells. Sanjay had one of the small cells. Praveen Mahajan, who is under trial for allegedly killing his brother and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pramod Mahajan, is in another. The third houses members of the fugitive mobster Chhota Shakeel's gang – Salim Fruit and Shahid Sheikh.

The Munnabhai star did not taste the jail dinner Tuesday as the scheduled dinner time was over much before he was brought in.

The cell in which Dutt is lodged is near the main door of the jail and is popularly known as the Buddha barrack, as earlier all aged undertrials were lodged there.

The cell, which till recently housed a Mumbai civic official accused in a real estate deal connected with India's most wanted fugitive Dawood Ibrahim, was given a fresh coat of paint Monday.

It has a toilet-cum bathroom facility outside, and a bucket of water is provided. Water is supplied twice a day at 4 a.m. and 3.30 p.m., jail sources said.

Dutt is to be in Barrack No.1 till Thursday, after which the authorities will decide where to shift him. Arthur Road Jail is meant for undertrials and has no facilities for rigorous imprisonment, that include carpentry or weaving work that such convicts have to undertake.