Sanjay Dutt to be shifted to Pune jail

Mumbai, Aug 2 (IANS) Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt, lodged at the high-security Arthur Road Jail, is likely to be shifted to a prison in Pune Thursday to enable him to serve out his “rigorous imprisonment” sentence.

The 48-year-old actor withdrew his application to be kept at the Arthur Road Jail after authorities Thursday submitted a report to the special Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Preventive) Act (TADA) court, citing their reasons for not being able to keep the actor in the same prison.

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The jail authorities said that since Arthur Road Jail was a prison meant for those who are facing trial, it was not equipped to house a prisoner undergoing rigorous imprisonment.

Objecting to the application of the actor – who was sentenced to a six-year jail term Tuesday in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case – to be kept at the Arthur Road Jail, special public prosecutor Ujjal Nikam said that besides the lack of facilities for rigorous imprisonment, the need to provide security to the actor was a major factor for him to be shifted to some other jail where prisoners are serving jail terms.

“There are no provisions for work that a sentenced person has to do nor there is any jail industry inside Arthur Road Jail where Sanjay Dutt could serve his sentence of rigorous imprisonment for six years,” Nikam told special judge Pramod Kode.

Nikam said that a sentence of rigorous imprisonment entitles the convict to work and take up cooking, carpentry or weaving which are not present at the Arthur Road Jail as it is only meant for undertrial people.

“The report by the jail authorities has stressed that the Arthur Road Jail is meant only for persons facing trial and that all other persons sentenced in the Mumbai serial bombing case have already been shifted out of Arthur Road Jail,” Nikam said.

Judge Kode disposed of the application after the actor’s counsel Farhana Shah withdrew it.

Although jail authorities were not available for comment as to where and when Dutt would be shifted, sources said that he might be shifted to Yerawada Jail near Pune Thursday.