Senior Nationalist Congress Party leader and Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Jayant Patil on Thursday opposed a pardon to actor Sanjay Dutt, who was sentenced in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case, saying that such a move would spark similar demands from other convicts.
"Dutt was convicted and sentenced to jail after the completion of a judicial process. If his sentencing is pardoned, then the judicial process will not have any meaning. Similar demands by other convicts may also increase," Patil told reporters here.
However, he said that the Maharashtra Home department still has to take a final decision to reduce Dutt's sentence.
"It was the Home department which demanded that the actor should be given stringent punishment," Patil said.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra BJP too announced that it would oppose any move by the state government to pardon Dutt.
"If the Maharashtra government considers any pardon to Dutt, it would be unfair on its part to show any mercy to him. What Dutt is today is immaterial, and his conviction by the Supreme Court was on the basis of his involvement in the Mumbai blasts case. It would send a wrong message to terrorists," Opposition Leader in the Maharashtra State Legislative Council Vinod Tawde told reporters at a press conference today in Nagpur.
Tawde said that Dutt was convicted by the Supreme Court and does not deserve any sympathy for waiving off his imprisonment.
"The Opposition led by the BJP will meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithiviraj Chavan and Home Minister R R Patil tomorrow in Mumbai to demand that the government should not consider the pardon application. The President of India has sought the opinion of the Maharashtra government on Dutt's plea for pardon," Tawade said.