On April 14, 1993, Baljeet Parmar, a crime reporter working for a Mumbai tabloid broke the news that Sanjay Dutt possessed an AK-56 rifle. Five days later, the actor was arrested, as soon as he returned to the country from his outdoor shoot in Mauritius.
Sanjay Dutt was arrested and charged under the stringent Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act or TADA for criminal conspiracy along with aiding and abetting terrorism, among others.
After a legal battle that stretched on for years, he breathed a sigh of relief when in November 2006, a TADA court dropped the charges of terrorism against him and said that he had acquired the gun for self-defence. He was, however, convicted under the Arms Act and sentenced to six years of imprisonment.
This chapter finds a mention in Rajkumar Hirani‘s recently released biopic of the Munna Bhai MBBS actor, Sanju. Baljeet Parmar, who is determined to not watch Sanju, dismissed the film as an attempt “to make a quick buck”.
In a Facebook post, he wrote, “The so-called bio pics are tailored to suite the man or the woman they are based on. They are not to inspire the audiences but are there to create a smokescreen to blur their minds.”
Parmar added, “The use or misuse of drugs, sleeping with women, branding media as an addictive potion, finding faults with system or society, willingly and knowingly Indulge in criminal activity, showing no remorse for your past actions, playing the sympathy card and crying victim, if that is what SANJU is about, I do not regret my decision of staying away from cinema halls.”
Earlier, the journalist had revealed how he got whiff of the fact that Sanjay Dutt’s name had cropped up while investigating the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai.
His source, a senior IPS officer, was willing to divulge only that the person under the scanner was an “MP ka beta”. While Parmar had a strong feeling that the MP in question was Sunil Dutt, he could not confirm the news as all senior officers involved in the investigation kept their lips firmly sealed.
As a last-ditch effort, Parmar “tried a bluff”. “I called an IPS officer at Mahim and said: ‘Suna hai aapne kisi MP ke bete ko uthaya hai (I have heard that you have picked up an MP’s son)’. The answer slipped out. ‘No, we have not, as he is shooting abroad,’ he replied. There it was – my big story. It had to be Sanjay Dutt.”
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