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Ramdev today, freedom tomorrow

Sanjay Dutt

Mumbai, Feb. 24: Sanjay Dutt's pre-release script had an unlikely dialogue: with a yoga guru.

The actor talked films with Baba Ramdev in Pune's Yerawada jail this afternoon, less than 24 hours before he is set to walk free following a remission in his sentence for what the prison's authorities have termed "good conduct".

Ramdev was in Yerawada jail to teach yoga to inmates.

A jail source said the actor and the yoga expert - who seems quite popular with Maharashtra's jail authorities who have been organising yoga camps by the televangelist in the state's correctional facilities - met for a one-to-one chat after the workshop and discussed Bollywood trade.

Ramdev is keen to get a Bollywood biopic produced on himself, but it is not known whether the private meeting touched on that topic.

Sanjay, convicted under the Arms Act in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, and Ramdev have been in touch since they met at a Ganeshotsav ceremony in Mumbai in September last year when the actor was out on a month's parole.

Ramdev and a section of Sanjay's supporters in the BJP, including his lawyer Hitesh Jain who is also an RSS activist, have been instrumental in securing the actor's early release.

A PIL could, however, put a spoke in Sanjay's wheel to liberty, although it's unlikely.

Pradeep Bhalekar, a Mumbai social activist, today filed the petition in Bombay High Court, seeking its intervention in cancelling the jail authorities' "wrong and illegal" decision to grant the actor a remission on his sentence.

"He was an accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts that left over 200 people dead. He was convicted by the Supreme Court for five years. According to norms, he did not even have to serve the full term because he had already served 18 months as an undertrial. And now he gets this eight-month remission. Is this right?" Bhalekar told The Telegraph.

"Thousands of undertrials and common convicts of petty offences rot in jail for years though their sentences might have got over. And this man gets preferential treatment because he is a celebrity. I have filed the PIL to seek the court's view on the matter," he added.

Sanjay, sent to jail in May 2013 after the Supreme Court rejected his curative petition, spent a large chunk of his sentence on paroles.

By the time Bhalekar's petition comes up for hearing tomorrow, Sanjay may have already stepped out of jail. The actor is expected to be released at 10 in the morning.

Sanjay's wife Manyata is expected to meet him outside the jail gates before he takes a flight chartered by his family to reach Mumbai. Sisters Priya and Namrata, along with Trishala, Sanjay's daughter with his first wife Richa, would be in Mumbai to welcome him home.

The actor is expected to visit his late mother Nargis Dutt's grave in Bada Kabarkhana in the Marine Lines after reaching Mumbai. He is also due to visit the Siddhivinayak temple.

Sanjay's friends in Bollywood say writing a book on his jail experiences and jumping right back into acting and film production are on his planner after he walks free.

But before work, it will be play. Actors Aamir Khan and Salman Khan, director Raju Hirani and producer Bunty Walia are expected to celebrate Sanjay's return from jail at the actor's posh Pali Hill apartment in Mumbai tomorrow.


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