Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who was released from prison on Thursday morning, stated that he is not a terrorist and wants to leave behind the bitter memories of being convicted in connection with the 1993 serial blasts case.
“I am not a terrorist. I have been acquitted of charges under TADA and conspiracy. The Supreme Court had also acquitted me under (IPC) section 120-B of conspiracy and TADA. I got the sentence under the Arms Act,” the 56-year-old actor said, addressing the media after returning to his home in suburban Bandra.
“I request the media that whenever they write or mention anything about me, don’t write 1993 blasts case before my name... I’m not into it,” Dutt said.
The “Munnabhai” fame actor, who walked a free man on Thursday out of the prison, said, “For 23 years I have been waiting for this moment... for freedom. I did everything (followed the law). It’s a feeling that will take a while to sink in.
“I miss my father (Sunil Dutt) today. I wish he was alive to see this day... if he would have been (alive), he would have been the happiest person,” he said.
After landing in Mumbai, the 56-year-old actor visited the Siddhivinayak temple and his mother Nargis Dutt’s grave.
“She (Dutt’s mother) passed away when we were very small. I went to seek her blessings as I am a free man today,” he said.
Soon after stepping out of the Yerwada prison near Pune where he had been lodged since 2013, Sanjay kissed the earth. “I love my dharti maa...I am born here, I’m proud to be an Indian,” he stressed.
When asked about Justice P D Kode having absolved him of the terror tag and conspiracy in the blasts case, he said, “The court had said I am not a terrorist. That was a big thing. I wish my father was alive to hear this. Even the Supreme Court had endorsed it.”
On the criticism over he being granted remission and the furloughs availed by him while serving the sentence, Dutt said, “It’s a misconception (that he got preferential treatment for leaves). It has nothing to do with me being a celebrity as I was also not allowed to do many things. May be, it (celebrity status) went against me.”
When asked how was his last day in jail on Wednesday, the actor said he did not sleep and he even did not have food for the last four days. “I was like I will be out of jail...not come here again (jail).”
To a query on if his wife Manyata was his pillar of strength when he was serving the term, Sanjay termed her as his “best half and not better half”.
“Whenever I was getting weak, she was my pillar of strength. I think she suffered more than me as she had to look after two kids, bring them up, take decisions,” he said.
When asked about his earnings in jail, Dutt said in a lighter vein, “Like a good husband I gave all the money to my wife.”
He said now he would like to spend quality time with his family and near and dear ones. “I would like to spend time with my family and kids now.”
On what was the first thing he did after being back home, Dutt said, “The first thing I did after reaching home was to have homemade tea.”
To a question on actor Ranbir Kapoor doing a biopic on him, he said, “I love him.”
Sanjay also said that he made friends in the jail. “I made some friends in the jail. They all love and respect me,” he said.
During the interaction with the media, Manyata said the feeling that Dutt is back home, is yet to sink-in her.
“I need some space and time to digest the fact that he has come back home now,” she said.
Dutt had surrendered in May 2013 after the apex court upheld his conviction by a special court here for possession of arms and ammunitions which was part of the consignment used in the 1993 serial bomb blasts.
During the investigation and the marathon trial, he spent 18 months in jail. On July 31, 2007, the TADA court in Mumbai sentenced him to six years’ rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000.
In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling but reduced the sentence to five years, following which he surrendered to serve the remainder of his sentence.
During his imprisonment, Dutt was granted parole of 90 days in December 2013 and again for 30 days later. His release on Thursday is 103 days ahead of the end of his full prison term.