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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 November 2006, 19:24 GMT
Sanjay Dutt pleads for leniency
By Monica Chadha
BBC News, Mumbai

Sanjay Dutt arrives at the anti-terrorism court in Mumbai on 28 November

Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt has pleaded for leniency when he is sentenced for his part in the 1993 serial bomb attacks in Mumbai (Bombay).

Dutt asked Judge PD Kode to consider his humanitarian work and clean record since being let out on bail in 1995 while police continued investigations.

On Tuesday, the judge found Dutt guilty of illegally possessing firearms but cleared him of conspiracy.

Dutt is one of the most high-profile of those accused over the 1993 blasts.

He was originally charged with five offences, including criminal conspiracy and possession of illegal weapons. He was cleared of all charges except for that of possessing weapons. He faces a prison sentence of between five and 10 years.

'I love my country'

In court on Thursday, Dutt told Judge Kode that his father had died 18 months ago and the burden of his family was now on his shoulders.

Scene of Mumbai blast, 1993
Aftermath of the 1993 bombs
He also said he was supporting his 18-year-old daughter in her studies in New York.

"Her future depends on me," the actor told the court.

Dutt also mentioned his father's cancer foundation and his own contributions from the film industry to the prime minister's relief foundation for people affected by the 2004 tsunami.

"I love my country, I love the people of my country and I request the honourable court to show mercy and leniency," he said.

Dutt was arrested in April 1993, a month after the Mumbai blasts, and spent 18 months in prison before he was released on bail.

"I've been on bail for 11 years and never had any complaint against me," he said.

"I have travelled in India and abroad, I've abided by all the laws. I have no prior convictions, no other case pending against me."

Of the 123 accused in the case, 94 have been convicted while 23 have been acquitted.

The judge is expected to announce the verdicts of the remaining six accused on Friday.

It is still not known when the court will start delivering the sentences.

The attacks were allegedly ordered by the Muslim-dominated underworld in retaliation for Hindu-Muslim riots.

They killed more than 250 people.


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