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Indian court delays sentencing Sanjay Dutt

INDIA: An Indian anti-terror court on Tuesday delayed its sentencing of Bollywood film star Sanjay Dutt following a legal challenge by others convicted in connection with a series of bombings in Mumbai in 1993.

Bollywood’s favourite bad guy had been in court to hear whether he will be jailed for illegal weapons possession, but his lawyer told AFP the sentencing would now likely take place today or early next week.

The special anti-terror court has already sentenced 76 of the 100 people found guilty in connection with the “Black Friday” attacks, which were allegedly organised by Mumbai’s Muslim-dominated underworld in revenge for deadly Hindu-Muslim religious clashes a few months earlier.

But on Tuesday, 15 people who have been found guilty of planting 13 bombs across India’s financial capital in March 1993 argued that the anti-terror court did not have jurisdiction to decide sentencing.

Their lawyers said the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities Act — under which the court was set up — had been repealed years ago. They are likely to appeal to India’s Supreme Court.

Dutt was found guilty of possessing weapons, but was cleared of the more serious charge of conspiracy in the attacks, in which 257 people were killed.

The alleged masterminds of the blasts, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon, have been on the run since 1993. Indian investigators say they were aided by Pakistan’s intelligence service but Islamabad has denied any link. In recent weeks, Dutt has been filming nonstop to close out his existing movie contracts prior to the sentencing.

“I spend my evenings playing with my four-month-old nephew and chatting with friends. I plan to start work on another film very soon,” the burly actor told AFP at the weekend.

With about six movies in production and as much as 750 million rupees (18 million dollars) of Bollywood money riding on Dutt’s fate, several producers are nervously awaiting the sentencing.

Mumbai, Wednesday, AFP

 

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