I am not a fan of Sanjay Dutt. I haven’t even watched any of his movies baring the original Munnabhai and its sequel. I don’t think he is a hunk and I am not someone who raves about his acting skill. Yet, Judge Kode’s verdict yesterday has disturbed me. I am a member of the camp that believes the judgment was unfair and unnecessarily harsh.
I agree that it was wrong on his part to acquire arms from the underworld and then post 1993 Mumbai blasts, because of fear of the law, to try and get them destroyed by an aide. Illegal possession of arms is a crime and purchasing weapons from the underworld is an offence too. However the judge seems to sidetrack the fact that the arms were bought for a reason. The Dutt’s were under threats and the guns were bought for self-defence. In addition, the Mumbai blasts occurred after the acquisition of guns. Therefore, these were two separate incidents. Kode’s words addressed to Dutt during the trial were harsher than required. He spoke of “criminalization of Dutt’s mind”. I can’t understand how a person who made a few wrong moves at the wrong time(even though they were grave but were nevertheless inadvertent) could be called criminal. Its not that he hasn’t paid a heavy price for his actions. Eighteen months in the jail and fourteen long agonizing years waiting for the judgment. His conduct 1993 to date has been unblemished. So why should he be given such a strong judgment? Six years of rigorous imprisonment is not a joke. There have been statements in the pres saying that Dutt has had connections with the underworld. He must have. But then half the film industry and 90% of our politicians and bureaucrats do too. We have enough truly criminal politicians roaming around the streets freely. May be we should put them into the jail first! The Dutt case is a political settling of scores. Anyone with a bare minimum knowledge of politics can see through this judgment. Its not just Dutt, even Memon’s verdict wasn’t fair. Five year’s imprisonment for transporting the explosives. She dint plant them or detonate them. For all you know she wasn’t even aware of what was in the package given to her. Plus, given the economic background of the 65 year old lady, it is very likely that the paltry sum of money offered in exchange of her services, were a big deal for her and her family.
You may not think that my pro-Dutt arguments are convincing enough. May be I have draw an emotionally coloured conclusion. What ever you may think, I still don’t think that this judgment was just. To quote Kamini Jaswal from last night’s new coverage- “This wasn’t a trial. It was a mistrial.”