There are stark differences and "the government seems to be trying to cover up for all the favours that it has done for actor Sanjay Dutt", according to the petitioners who had filed a public interest litigation against the actor's early release from Yerwada jail.
The petitioners point out to the affidavit filed by Yerwada jail superintendent Tolaram Pawar on September 14 last year. In his affidavit, Pawar had pointed out that Dutt was released for his first parole leave on December 21, 2013 and he returned on March 22, 2014 - a total of 92 days when the Bollywood actor could not have been granted more than 90 days at a time.
However, the latest document that was submitted to the Bombay high court by the advocate general of Maharashtra says that Dutt's leave for 90 days began on December 22, 2013 and ended on March 21, 2014. This certainly does total up to 90 days which is legally permissible.
DISCREPANCIES IN DOCUMENTS
A similar discrepancy can be seen in the two documents tendered by the Maharashtra government in Bombay high court. Pawar's affidavit states that Dutt was released on furlough - a different kind of leave where a jail inmate gets to go out in the society after a year of stay inside the prison - on October 1, 2013 for two weeks.
Dutt had extended his furlough for two more weeks. According to Pawar, Dutt reported back at Yerwada jail on October 30, 2013 which is when he was supposed to do it. However, Dutt was out of jail for two extra days than he should have been, according to this.
But the latest document points out that Dutt was out of jail on October 2, 2013 and was back in jail on October 29, 2013. This document tendered by the advocate general seems to have covered up for the discrepancies in Pawar's affidavit.
In his affidavit, Pawar had pointed out that Dutt was supposed to surrender after a furlough leave on January 8, 2015 but he surrendered only on January 10, late by two days. This was a "breach of condition" Pawar had recommended that Dutt's two days' remission be forfeited. However, the Maharashtra government later decided to condone this delay.
Advocate Nitin Satpute, appearing for petitioner Pradeep Bhalekar, also pointed to the days of remission and said, "Remission was granted to Dutt for 8 months and 16 days. Apart from this additionally he was out of jail for 90 days parole and 28 days furlough which is 118 days officially. He jumped the parol and furlough so if you count all that then he did not serve the sentence for more than one year."
Satpute asked the jail authorities for the CCTV footage of jail to see the "good behaviour" on the basis of which Dutt was given so much of remission. "We were told that Dutt has requested jail authorities not to give it," he said.
Satpute further said, "There is a list prepared by state government of all convicts across Maharashtra for parole. According to the list, the government has to deal with all the parole whether granted or not. All of it has to be done serial wise. His serial number was 238 while he was considered at serial number 10. It was similar for his furlough application. This is how the government showed favour to Sanjay Dutt."
Now the question is: Which of the affidavits is right. Pawar's affidavit is an affidavit in true sense. However, the document submitted by the advocate general of Maharashtra in Bombay high court is not an affidavit in the true sense as it is not affirmed and is not on stamp paper. However, the advocate general told the court that this was an "affidavit" while handing it to the court.