Sanjay Dutt: India Bollywood actor returns to jail

Sanjay Dutt
Image caption Sanjay Dutt is hugely popular for his role of a loveable gangster in Munnabhai movies

Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt has returned to jail to serve his sentence for firearms offences linked to 1993 blasts which killed 257 people in Mumbai.

The actor gave himself up at a court in the western Indian city.

Dutt has already served 18 months of a five-year term for illegally possessing a rifle and pistol which he bought from the bombers before the attacks.

He had sought to delay his return to prison to finish a number of films, but the court rejected his appeal.

Dutt was convicted in 2006 of buying arms from the bombers but cleared of conspiracy. The attacks left 713 others injured.

There was tight security outside the actor's house from early on Thursday morning as scores of reporters and television cameramen gathered.

Accompanied by his family and friends, the 53-year-old actor travelled in a convoy of cars to the court.

For 20 minutes, he was unable to leave the car because of the media mob which police struggled to keep in check.

Accompanied by his sister and wife, he went inside the court from where he will be transferred to jail.

Several Bollywood personalities visited Dutt's home in the posh Bandra suburb of Mumbai before he went back into custody.

The son of a Hindu father and a Muslim mother, Dutt said the weapons were necessary in order to defend his family during the Hindu-Muslim rioting of 1993 which followed the destruction by Hindu zealots of the Babri mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya.

Dutt, one of Bollywood's most bankable stars, is hugely popular for his role as a loveable gangster in the Munnabhai movies. He has also dabbled in politics.

In 2006, a special anti-terror court convicted 100 people for the blasts. Twelve were given the death penalty and 20 others sentenced to life imprisonment.

Dutt, the most high-profile among the convicts, was originally charged with five offences, including criminal conspiracy and possession of illegal weapons.

In March 2013, India's Supreme Court upheld his conviction, but reduced his sentence from the earlier six years to five years.

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