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Last Updated: Monday, 20 August 2007, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Bail for Bollywood's Sanjay Dutt
Sanjay Dutt arrives at the special court in Mumbai for his sentencing
Dutt has a huge fan following in India
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, jailed for buying weapons from bombers who attacked Mumbai in 1993, has been given 'temporary' bail by the Supreme Court.

Dutt was sentenced for six years three weeks ago and is being held in a prison in the western Indian city of Pune.

It is not yet clear if the actor would be free on Monday or whether he would have to wait for legal formalities.

Dutt is the most high-profile of 100 people convicted in connection with the blasts which killed 257 people.

He was cleared of conspiracy, but found guilty of illegally possessing a rifle and a pistol.

Dutt's lawyers appealed for bail in the Supreme Court a fortnight ago.

Temporary relief

On Monday, the court ordered the actor's release on the grounds that a copy of the judgement, passed by the special anti-terror court in Mumbai, is yet to reach the actor.

But court has specified that the relief is temporary.

A scene from the 1993 Mumbai blast (Pic: Fawzan Husain)
Hundreds of people were killed in the blasts

The judge said as soon as the actor gets a copy of the Mumbai court order, he will have to surrender again and he will be sent back to jail.

Only after that can the actor file an appeal for bail and the matter will be considered on merit, the judge added.

Dutt is one of Bollywood's most bankable stars and his bail has been welcomed by the film industry in Mumbai.

"It's fantastic news," Bollywood producer Ravi Chopra was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

"He's learnt the lesson he had to learn and now we hope the court takes a lenient view," he said.

Happy fans

Although the actor had stopped signing new films for some time before his sentencing, there are a few films on the floor with him playing the lead.

"If he's out for, say 60 days, and shoots every day then he should be able to finish them," Bollywood trade analyst Komal Nahata said.

"There is about 500 million rupees ($12m) riding on him," he said.

Dutt found fame playing gangsters and anti-heroes.

His trial generated huge interest among Bollywood fans across India and the news of his bail saw dozens of happy fans gathering outside the prison in Pune.

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

The Mumbai blasts were allegedly carried out by Mumbai's (Bombay's) Muslim-dominated underworld in retaliation for the riots, in which most of those killed were Muslims.




SEE ALSO
Dutt jailed in Mumbai bombs case
31 Jul 07 |  South Asia
Jailed Bollywood star 'in tears'
01 Aug 07 |  South Asia
Dutt shocked by prison term
31 Jul 07 |  South Asia
Sanjay Dutt: Bollywood's bad boy
30 Jul 07 |  South Asia
In pictures: Sanjay Dutt
28 Nov 06 |  In Pictures
Bollywood's Dutt appeals sentence
07 Aug 07 |  South Asia
Mumbai gripped by Dutt in the dock
28 Nov 06 |  South Asia
In pictures: 1993 Mumbai blasts
12 Sep 06 |  In Pictures

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