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Sanjay Dutt to walk free on February 27, social activist had written to Maharashtra CM Fadnavis opposing his early release
The new year has brought good news for imprisoned actor Sanjay Dutt. The 56-year old actor would be a free man on February 27. It has been officially confirmed that the actor would be released from Yerwada Jail in Pune on February 27.

Minister for state (home) Ranjit Patil has signed the file paving way for Dutt's early release without penalising him for returning 2 days late to prison, the last time he was out on a furlough in January 2015. Dutt was not found guilty in the matter as he had been in constant touch with officials regarding the extension to his furlough.

Dutt's sentence has been cut short by nearly three and a half months due to the actor's good behaviour. Otherwise his prison term would have ended on October 25, 2016.

Dutt had been handed over a 5-year jail term for illegal possession of arms in 1993 blast case after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction. By then he had already served 18 months in prison, and remained out on bail later. He was resent to Yerwada Jail in Pune in March 2013 to complete his remaining sentence.

Social activist Pradeep Bhalekar had written a letter to Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadanavis in December last year opposing Dutt's early release, saying that it would set a wrong precedent for high-profile criminals.

Bhalekar had said, "I have written a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and have requested him not to show any leniency to the actor. This will set a wrong precedent for high-profile criminals who would also want the same preferential treatment from the government."

He further added, "Rather, I have urged the Chief Minister to show some sympathy to thousands of undertrial prisoners who have no backing to fight their cases and are languishing in jails."

Bhalekar runs a Mumbai-based organisation named Samajik Karyakarta Sanrakshan Samiti which peruses the cause of prisoners, especially undertrials in the state and fights for their rights.

In his nine-page letter Bhalekar had written, "If it happens (Dutt's early release), it would be a black day for the state,"

Accroding to a RTI reply received by me, there were 27,740 prisoners across 57 jails in the state by March 2014, which included 18,499 undertrails. Out of these 18,499 undertrials, 994 are women. Why is the Chief Minister not doing anything for these people? Just because they are common men and women?" he asked.

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