How about reducing Sanjay Dutt’s sentence, Centre asks Maharashtra

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New Delhi, October 24:  The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sought the Maharashtra government’s opinion on reducing the sentence of actor Sanjay Dutt and two others convicted in the 1993 Bombay serial blasts on “humanitarian grounds.”

The actor, awarded a five-year imprisonment by the Supreme Court for possessing illegal firearms, is serving a 42-month-jail-term, having spent 18 months behind bars earlier. “We have asked the State government to provide its opinion, the jailor’s comment on the actor’s conduct and a few other issues [on giving relief to Sanjay Dutt],” a senior official said.

This follows applications by Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju and a few others to President Pranab Mukherjee urging relief for Mr. Dutt and two others, including a 70-year-old woman, on “humanitarian grounds.”

The MHA decided to approach the State after the President forwarded these petitions to it. “After we get the response from the State government, it would be put before the President. Mr. Dutt, who was sent to Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail and later shifted to Pune’s Yerawada Central Jail, is out on parole for his good conduct.”

‘Great if it happens’

Staff Reporter writes from Mumbai:

“It’s great if this has happened but on the whole it’s too early for me to react. This is basically a matter of procedure when someone appeals against a sentence,” Congress MP Priya Dutt said in her reaction to the Union Home Ministry asking for Maharashtra’s opinion on reducing her brother Sanjay Dutt’s prison sentence.

“Neither Mr. Sanjay Dutt nor his family asked for a reduction in his sentence. The Centre is acting on a petition filed by Justice Katju,” she clarified.

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