Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt released from jail

The Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt has been released from jail after serving a sentence for illegal possession of firearms he purchased from men linked to the 1993 Mumbai bombings.

Dutt’s return to freedom was covered live by a number of Indian news channels as friends and family turned up to shepherd him from Pune’s high-security Yerwada Central jail on Thursday. He kissed the ground outside the prison before being driven to a nearby airport, where he was due to fly home to Mumbai.

“I am out here because of their [fans’] support. There is no easy walk to freedom, my friends,” he told reporters for the AFP news agency.

The 56-year-old actor was initially sentenced in 1993 after buying three AK-56 rifles and other weapons from terrorists linked to the bombings which killed 257 people and injured 713. In his defence, he said he needed the weapons to defend his family due to Muslim-Hindu tension in Mumbai.

The star of 2014 comedy blockbuster PK, 2003’s Munnabhai MBBS and its 2006 sequel has been in and out of courts over the past 23 years. He spent 18 months behind bars in the early 1990s before being bailed, and was jailed once again in 2007 for six years on the same offences, though he did not serve the time until 2013.

Even then, India’s supreme court reduced his sentence from six to five years. Dutt was finally released ahead of schedule after serving around four years, due to good behaviour.

The son of a Hindu father and a Muslim mother, veteran actors Sunil and Nargis, Dutt is considered one of Bollywood’s best-known stars, with billions of rupees riding on his movies. He is expected to resume his film career and has been cast in the comedy-drama Kapoor and Sons, out this year.


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