Sanjay Dutt walks out a free man after release from Yerawada

Pune: Putting behind the torrid times since his conviction in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt on Thursday walked out a free man from the Yerawada Central prison here after being granted remission in his five-year sentence.

A smile lighted his face as the 56-year-old actor, clad in a blue shirt and jeans, stepped out and walked briskly toward a waiting car outside the prison, waving to onlookers.

Looking in good health, he enthusiastically carried in his hands a ‘khaki’ bag containing his belongings and a green coloured file that apparently contained his prison record.

A sense of dramatics crept in as he turned back and saluted the tri-colour atop the prison building and bent to touch the soil in full media glare.

Waiting for him inside the car were his wife Maanyata and friend and producer of blockbuster “Munnabhai” Rajkumar Hirani as he drove to Pune airport to take an onward chartered flight to Mumbai.

Speaking to reporters outside the Pune airport, the actor quipped that “There is no easy walk to freedom my friends”.

Dutt was set free after completing prison formalities at around 8.45 AM and came out escorted by police which had tightened security in the area.

He completed 42-months remaining of his five year sentence in Yerawada prison here as he had already spent 18 months in Mumbai’s Arthur road jail as an under-trial.

Controversies continued to dog him for his leave of parole and furlough as his critics and detractors alleged that the actor had been given “special treatment” that led to his remission and a curtailed stay in prison.

Before Dutt’s release this morning, a handful of protestors too had raised slogans in front of the prison protesting alleged the preferential treatment meted out to him by the authorities.

Prison authorities and his lawyers, however, refuted the allegations saying that his remission of 144 days and his parole leave was in accordance with jail manual and prescribed rules.

Back home in Mumbai, his residence in suburban Bandra was decorated with flowers to welcome him after his visit to the Siddhivinayak Temple and his mother’s grave at Marine Lines in South Mumbai. PTI