Mumbai: Even as the fate of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt's application for extension of leave of absence from the jail remains uncertain, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said the government would follow the law strictly, without thinking of the people involved.
“I want to make it clear that the state government will only work as per the law. We neither have a celebrity-phobia nor a celebrity-mania. The DIG-Prisons has all the powers as to whether to grant furlough or not or to extend it. If the DIG's decision is wrong, the government will intervene, otherwise no intervention is needed,” Fadnavis said.
The Chief Minister, who holds the home portfolio himself, was speaking to reporters at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas event in Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
“I have instructed (the authorities) to go beyond personalities when they take the decision. Extending furlough only because someone is a celebrity or someone has a particular status is wrong. The state will ensure that the law is followed,” Fadnavis said.
Dutt, convicted in the Mumbai serial blasts case, left his home for Yerwada prison in Pune yesterday only to return apparently due to a confusion between the jail and the police authorities about his application seeking extension of leave.
The 55-year-old actor, convicted for illegal possession of an AK-56 rifle and its destruction, was released on a 14-day furlough on December 24 as he wanted to be with his family during the New Year celebration.
Dutt had earlier been granted furlough in October 2013 for 28 days on health grounds, followed by another leave in December 2013 to tend to his ailing wife Manyata. However, questions were raised about genuineness of the reason when media published pictures of Manyata Dutt at a film screening.
Meanwhile, Fadnavis also said on Twitter that rules would be followed in Dutt's case, and “our government doesn't believe in discriminating or victimising anybody”.