Actor Sanjay Dutt today told a court here that he will surrender before it tomorrow to undergo the prison term in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, even as a jail official said he would be provided adequate security in the wake of an anonymous letter alleging threat to his life.
Dutt's lawyer Subhash Yadav submitted before the special TADA court that the 53-year-old actor wanted to withdraw his application filed yesterday seeking leave to surrender before Yerwada jail in Pune instead of giving himself up in the TADA court here.
However, Yadav did not assign any reason for withdrawing the application. The court also did not ask him why he was not pressing for his plea.
As the court allowed Dutt to withdraw the application, the lawyer said the actor would surrender tomorrow.
Dutt had made an oral plea in the same court earlier about surrendering before Yerwada prison authorities but it was turned down by the Designated TADA Judge. Thereafter, he moved a written application which he abruptly withdrew today.
Meanwhile, IGP (Prisons) Vinod Lokhande said Arthur Road Central Jail authorities in Mumbai had received an anonymous letter alleging threat to Dutt's life. However, he did not divulge details.
"We have taken cognisance of the letter received three days ago and shall be providing adequate security to Sanjay Dutt," said a top officer of the Arthur Road jail.
It is not clear in which jail Dutt would be lodged but authorities said he might be taken initially to Arthur Road Jail and then shifted to Yerwada prison, police sources said.
Normally, as per the practice, undertrials are kept at Arthur Road jail while convicts are lodged in Yerwada prison and other jails in Maharashtra, the sources said.
Dutt has been convicted under the Arms Act and sentenced to a five-year jail term. He has already undergone imprisonment for one-and-a-half-years.
The Supreme Court had yesterday refused to grant more time to him to surrender to undergo remaining three-and-a- half-year jail term. On May 10, the apex court had dismissed Dutt's plea seeking review of its judgement on his conviction and five-year jail term.
Dutt was earlier granted four weeks more time to surrender to undergo the remaining part of his jail term.
The apex court had on March 21 upheld his conviction in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, which it said was engineered by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and others with the involvement of Pakistan's ISI.
However, the apex court had reduced to five years the six-year jail term awarded to Dutt by a designated TADA court in 2006 while ruling out his release on probation, saying the "nature" of his offence was "serious".
Dutt was convicted by the TADA court for illegally possessing a 9 mm pistol and an AK-56 rifle, which were part of a consignment of weapons and explosives brought to India for co-ordinated serial blasts that killed 257 people and injured over 700 in 1993.