Sanjay Dutt to Supreme Court: I bought weapon to protect family

The actor says he has no link to 1993 Mumbai blasts and he bought an AK-56 rifle to protect his father Sunil Dutt and his sisters

Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt Tuesday told the Supreme Court that his offence of possessing a rifle and ammunition was not linked to the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts. The blasts struck the city in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition in Uttar Pradesh December 6, 1992. Appearing for the actor, senior counsel Harish Salve told the apex court bench of Justice P Sathasivam and Justice BS Chauhan that he came to possess the weapon in September 1992 when his father Sunil Dutt and sisters were facing threats as the senior Dutt’s help to Muslim victims annoyed some.

“He had nothing to do with it (the 1993 Mumbai blasts) before, during and after the blasts,” Salve told the court. “Crime has many facets. A crime is under Indian Penal Code but aimed to awe the society,” Salve told the court, adding that the conviction of Sanjay Dutt under the Arms Act was in no way connected with the 1993 serial blasts. Salve said that the only caveat in putting Dutt to trial under an anti-terror law was if there was any “inextricable linkage” between his possessing arms with the serial bomb blasts. He said that this was the least common denominator that could be used for seeing any such linkage. There was no linkage between Dutt possessing a rifle and the 1993 bomb blasts. The senior counsel said that a “disconnect” between Dutt acquiring a rifle and some ammunition with the larger conspiracy took him out of the trial under the now-repealed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA).

The court was told that Dutt had never met blasts accused Tiger Memon and all that he knew about him was hearsay from Samir Hingora in whose under-production film Sanam he was playing a role.

“This is what you say,” Justice Sathasivam told Salve and asked: “But what other accused say about you?”

Salve said that what other accused had said about him was contradictory. The senior counsel told this to the apex court hearing Dutt’s appeal challenging his conviction under the Arms act and sentence of six years awarded to him. The star’s appeal challenging his conviction was being heard by the apex court. As Salve commenced the arguments, the court pointed out that there were objections that the “CBI filed appeal against all making an exception for Sanjay Dutt”. The court was apparently referring to senior counsel Jaspal Singh casting shadows on the impartiality of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by not appealing against the TADA court verdict in the actor’s case. Singh, who appeared for accused Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, said that the CBI did not oppose the bail of Dutt who had confessed his guilt and weapons were recovered from him. The special bench of the apex court is hearing a batch of petitions filed by accused challenging their conviction and sentencing by the TADA court. The hearing commenced November 1, 2011.