A claustrophobic Sanjay Dutt wanted to be shifted out of the high-security ‘anda’ cell in Arthur Road Prison, after a night’s stay there. The actor had on Thursday surrendered before the TADA court to serve the rest of his sentence in the 1993 blasts case.
Dutt’s counsel Rizwan Merchant made an oral plea before the TADA court on Friday to shift him from the egg-shaped isolation cell, meant for hardcore criminals and terrorists, to some other cell as Dutt was experiencing suffocation due to poor ventilation and lighting. Unlike other cells where one could interact with jail inmates, ‘anda’ cell prisoners could interact only with the prison authorities. Merchant said it was improper on the part of the prison authorities to lodge Dutt in an isolation cell as he was convicted only under the Arms Act and not TADA. Upon this, TADA court Judge G A Sanap said he would decide on the issue only when Merchant moved a written application. The prison authorities are yet to finalise in which jail Dutt would undergo the three-and-a-half year sentence.
Sources said Sanjay killed time in jail reading the holy books, which he had taken to the prison after seeking permission from the TADA court.
In a related development, the TADA court issued non-bailable warrant against two ageing convicts -- Zaibunissa Kazi and Sharif Parkar. Though their deadline for surrendering was on March 16, both had failed to turn up at the TADA court. Both the convicts moved the TADA court on Friday seeking more time to surrender owing to medical conditions. Advocate Farhana Shah informed the court that her client Parkar, 80, has been hospitalised following chest pain and has been advised by the doctors for angioplasty. Kazi’s lawyer sought time till May 20 to surrender citing her medical condition. But Judge Sanap refused to give any relief as the deadline for their surrender had been fixed by the Supreme Court.