Munnabhai beats the rap, mostly

sanjay-dutt.jpg Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt (star of the Munnabhai movies) has been acquitted on the terrorism charge that’s been on his head since 1993. The judge did find him guilty of illegal possession of arms, but it appears that charge is much less of a concern: though he may still do years of prison time, according to the New York Times, Dutt’s family and friends are celebrating.

Some background on the case is available at Wikipedia:

Mumbai was engulfed in riots as the aftermath of the destruction of the Babri Masjid complex in Ayodhya in December 1992. The resulting riots claimed hundreds of lives and it is during this time that Sanjay Dutt claims to have asked his under world friends to provide him with a fire arm for protection. He however had not conveyed to police any threats to his life.

As per the CBI case filed in a TADA court Abu Salem and his men went to Dutt’s house on January 16, 1993 and gave him three AK-56 rifles, 25 hand grenades, one 9 mm pistol and cartridges. He returned two AK-56 rifles, hand grenades and cartridges to Hanif Kadawala and Samir Hingora but kept one AK-56 rifle with himself. (link)

Admittedly, the Wikipedia article is a bit slanted towards Dutt here, as it presumes that Dutt’s purpose in buying a weapon was self-defense. But the problem with this interpretation is Dutt’s supplier, Abu Salem, a notorious terrorist seen as one of the key organizers of the terrible 1993 blasts in Bombay. While it’s fair to imagine that a half-Muslim actor might want protection following some nasty communal riots (December 1992-January 1993), it’s also fair to speculate that he knew Abu Salem was up to something unsavory by the spring of 2003. Even if Sanjay Dutt wasn’t actively involved in the bombings that took place in March of 1993, isn’t it possible he knew something about the plans given his association with Abu Salem?

I guess I lean towards Dutt a bit in this case. While I do find Abu Salem’s involvement disturbing, it’s hard to imagine that Dutt would have been actively involved in terrorism given his famous parents and his status as an actor. That said, if this were the U.S., and Sanjay Dutt had bought an AK-56 rifle from, say, Mohammed Atta, he would probably be permanently locked up in Guantanamo Bay. (Sometimes, the Indian legal system seems more rational than the current American one.)

Dutt served 18 months in jail immediately following his arrest, but within a few years was back and more popular than ever in Bollywood. The 2000s have been the peak of his career, with the two superhit Munnabhai movies. As I recall from the comments to one of my earlier posts on Lage Rago Munnabhai, some people at least have been aware of the irony of an actor in a movie about “Gandhi-giri” being found guilty of possessing an assault rifle. Well, at least he has one thing in common with the Mahatma — they both did lots of jail time.

59 thoughts on “Munnabhai beats the rap, mostly

  1. Kush Tandon,

    The Priya Dutt blog you posted is such a load of crock. Not a single message, which is not ooohing and aaahhhing over her courage or her honesty. Me thinks, she and her cohorts must be busy typing away…

  2. The Bhagavad Gita is not only an integral part of the Mahabharata, but also its most important part.

    It is absolutely, however in reading some of the popular translations (I haven’t in a long time) I found the actual translation of the Bhagavad Gita, the discourse by Krishna to Arjun, hard to concentrate on versus the story within it, the Mahabharat when read separately. More of a soap opera. I find the acts within the story more engaging than the literal translation of the philosophies.

  3. Speaking of religious displays after run-ins with the legal system, Salman Khan, in an only-in-India-Manmohan-Desai-esq-fashion actually claimed that when he was in prison, he read the Koran and the Mahabharata (not the Gita, the “Mahabharata”) DAILY. :D

    Fast reader!

  4. I am surprised that no one has discussed thhe uncomfortable questions are being raised about Baba’s (That’s Sanjay to his near and dear ones) conviction under the less severe Arms Act, while the people who carried the weapons to him and kept them for safeguarding were branded ‘terrorists’ and convicted under TADA

  5. I see lot more sympathy for these nutcase indian celebrities. I sense lots of bias comparing recent UCLA taze incident post. I would say SD needs atleast 10 shots of that Tazer if not 10 years inside. I don’t know which one is better there in India.

  6. Yeh sab paise ka khel hai bhai, paisa pheko aur tamasha dekho!! Seriously, It is doubtful he will ever spend any time behind bars, even if he does it will be a luxury version of jail with 5 star amenities. Laws and regulations simply apply to common folk who have no money and influenze. Not long ago a top ranked military official’s son drove over some poor homeless people killing many. He spent a few years in jail, got acquitted because the prosecution witnesses turned hostile ( probably threatened or sold out for a few thousand rupees). No matter where you live, it always “pays” to have a lot of money and influential friends and family.

  7. Indian Courts Doing Well??

    Indian Police?? CBI?

    We are forgetting that courts act on affadavits filde by lawyers. Big people have always managed to escape from the clutches of law.

    Sanjay DUtt- A godd Man??? Victim of stupidity.

    Thats something illogical and absurd.

    He was stupid when he took drugs and then again when he accepted to take AK47. If he was concerned about his security ( which is an absurd makeup hypothesis) he would have told his father about it. His father probably a rich man would hav had enoug money and power to get him suitable defense. Why the hell on earth he needs to take things from Underworld. Its totally fishy. He took weapons from people who engulfed and perptuated terror in this country. He is a criminal and has been saved by the all powerful political clout. An example of Indin investigation impotence.

  8. hi sanju im wth u evey time u read hanumanna chalisa hanumaan jii help u if any one read these then plzz ask him read it every time or every seound its gud for his future