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Sanjay Dutt: India court rejects actor's plea

image captionSanjay Dutt is hugely popular for his role as a loveable gangster in Munnabhai movies

India's Supreme Court has rejected Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt's petition asking the court to review its earlier order sending him to jail for firearms offences during the 1993 Mumbai blasts.

The court said it saw "no merit' in his plea. The actor is now set to go to jail by 16 May.

He has been sentenced for five years. He has already spent 18 months in jail.

The actor was convicted in 2006 of buying firearms from bombers who attacked Mumbai.

He was found guilty of illegally possessing a rifle and a pistol but cleared of conspiracy.

The son of a Hindu father and a Muslim mother, Dutt said the weapons were necessary in order to defend his family during the Hindu-Muslim rioting of 1993 which followed the destruction by Hindu zealots of the Babri mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya.

The Mumbai bombings killed 257 people and wounded 713 others.

In March, judges ordered Dutt to surrender by 18 April after reducing his sentence to five years from six.

Dutt, 53, had urged the court to allow him to finish work on a number of films before returning to prison.

On 17 April, the court ordered Dutt to surrender within four weeks.

Dutt, one of Bollywood's most bankable stars, is hugely popular for his role as a loveable gangster in the Munnabhai movies. He has also dabbled in politics.

In 2006, a special anti-terror court convicted 100 people for the blasts. Twelve were given the death penalty and 20 others sentenced to life imprisonment.

Dutt, the most high-profile among the convicts, was originally charged with five offences, including criminal conspiracy and possession of illegal weapons.

More on this story

  • Sanjay Dutt: Bollywood's bad boy

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