Sanjay Dutt says he'll go to prison as ordered

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Associated Press

Posted on March 28, 2013 at 2:32 AM

MUMBAI, India (AP) — Breaking down repeatedly, popular Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt said Thursday he will serve his prison sentence for a 1993 weapons conviction and he has not sought pardon in the case linked to the deadliest terror attack in Indian history.

Dutt broke his silence a week after the Supreme Court sentenced him to five years in prison for illegal possession of weapons supplied by Mumbai crime bosses linked to a 1993 terror attack that killed 257 people.

"I respect the Supreme Court's verdict. I have not applied for any pardon," an emotional Dutt told reporters at a news conference held outside his home in Mumbai, India's entertainment capital and home to Bollywood, India's prolific Hindi film industry.

"There are many other people who deserve pardon," he said.

Dutt broke down repeatedly while reading out a statement and hugged his sister, Priya Dutt, who is a Congress party lawmaker from Mumbai.

Dutt said he and his family were devastated by the verdict.

"Right now I am a shattered man. My family is shattered," he said.

Dutt, 53, originally had been sentenced to serve six years in prison on the charge of possessing an automatic rifle and a pistol that were supplied to him by men subsequently convicted in a series of bombings that hit Mumbai.

The actor has maintained that he knew nothing about the bombing plot and that he asked for the guns to protect his family after receiving threats during sectarian riots in Mumbai. His mother was Muslim and his father Hindu.

He served 18 months in jail before he was released on bail in 2007 pending the appeal, so three and a half years remain.

The aging actor, who mainly plays character roles, said he hopes to complete as many of his pending film projects in the four weeks that the court has allowed him before he reports to prison.

Trade analysts say Dutt's jail term will be a huge financial blow for the industry.

Two of Dutt's films are being readied for release, but several other projects are midway and are likely to be delayed.

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