Even as opinions are divided over the issue of seeking pardon for Sanjay Dutt, the actor on Thursday told the media he had not sought any pardon, and made an emotional appeal to be left alone for the few remaining days of his freedom.
Stepping out of his house in suburban Bandra for the first time since the Supreme Court verdict on March 21, the 53-year-old actor said: “With folded hands, I want to tell you all that let me be in peace till the time I go in.” He made the remarks before leaving for a film shoot.
Sanjay, who spent 18 months in prison as an undertrial, must serve 42 months more to complete his five-year sentence.
Since his conviction, several prominent personalities had come forward to appeal to the Maharashtra Governor for his pardon. This also set off several objections to the move from individuals and organisations.
Sanjay, however, put to rest all speculation on the outcome of the appeal. Accompanied by his sister Priya Dutt, a Congress MP from Mumbai, Sanjay said he had the highest respect for the Supreme Court and would abide by its verdict. He said he would surrender at the end of the four-week period the apex court had given him to do so. “With folded hands, I want to tell the media and all the senior journalists that when I have not applied for a pardon there is no debate about it,” he said.
He pointed out that there were many others who deserved it.
In tears, he said he was a “shattered man” and this was a “very very tough time in my life, in our lives.” He thanked everyone who supported him.
Speaking about the time left before his surrender, Sanjay said he wanted to finish all pending work and spend time with his family in the remaining days. “With folded hands, I want to tell you all that let me be in peace till the time I go in. I love my country, I love the citizens of my country and I love India. Thank you,” he said and hugged Priya. It seemed obvious that the 200-word speech Sanjay made was prepared in advance, though he did not refer to any notes. He also refused to take questions from the media.
Police sources said Sanjay had clarified on the issue of pardon to douse the controversy surrounding it, and if he allowed it to flame any further it would be counter-productive. “The pardon row was raking up issues concerning the TADA charge not applied to him. Among those objecting to seeking pardon were those who wanted a retrial. He may not be second-time lucky,” a police officer said.