MUMBAI: Actor Sanjay Dutt, jailed in an arms case related to the 1993 Mumbai blasts, will be released on February 27.
The 56-year-old will be walking free from Yerwada jail in Pune a few days ahead of his official date of release. Sources say the reprieve has been granted on grounds of good behaviour.
Last year, a petition filed by former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju in 2013 seeking pardon for Sanjay Dutt was rejected. Sources had said that Governor Vidyasagar Rao rejected the petition on the recommendation of the Maharashtra home department, which said it would set a bad precedent as the actor's conviction was confirmed by the Supreme Court.
The actor's frequent breaks from jail have earlier been criticised as evidence of VIP treatment. Between May 2013 and 2014, Mr Dutt spent over 118 days out of prison.
Sanjay Dutt was found guilty in 2007 of acquiring illegal weapons from those involved in the deadly 1993 attacks in Mumbai in which 257 people were killed, and hundreds injured. He was sentenced to six years in jail in 2007; he served 18 months but then was out on bail, fighting the conviction until a court in March 2013 ordered him back to jail in Pune.
In 2007, Mr Dutt was cleared of conspiracy charges in the attacks but found guilty of illegal possession of an AK-56 rifle and a pistol, which he claimed he required to protect himself and his family during the rioting that erupted in Mumbai after a series of bombs exploded at the city's landmarks. (Also Read: Sanjay Dutt Goes Back to Jail, Family says Goodbye)