Apex court allows Sanjay Dutt to extend stay abroad (Lead)

February 5th, 2009 - 7:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 5 (IANS) Actor Sanjay Dutt, who is out on bail in connection with illegal possession of arms in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, can stay abroad for two more weeks to attend a conference on malnutrition in New York as the UN’s goodwill ambassador, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday. A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam allowed Dutt to stay abroad for two more weeks beyond Feb 20 on a plea by him that the UN function has been postponed to Feb 25 from Feb 12.

Appearing for Dutt, senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi told the court that the function was to be attended by US President Barack Obama too but as he would not be able to attend it on Feb 12, the function was rescheduled for Feb 25.

Earlier, on Jan 14 the court granted Dutt permission to go abroad and return to India by Feb 20. The bench had also asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to release the star’s passport.

The court had granted him permission to travel to Thailand, Britain and South Africa during this period to complete the shooting of two new films.

In his petition filed through advocate Hari Shankar, Dutt had sought release of his passport, which had been impounded by the designated anti-terror court of Mumbai.

Dutt’s passport has been impounded by the court as a condition for his release on bail, granted by the apex court, pending a decision on his petition challenging his conviction and six-year-sentence for possessing illegal fire arms during the 1993 serial terror bombings in Mumbai.

Dutt was granted permission to go abroad after senior counsel Fail S. Nariman, appearing for the actor, pleaded to the court to allow him to go to New York to attend the conference.

The apex court had last year granted Dutt permission to travel to Malaysia, Thailand and the US to complete the shooting of two films “Blue” and “Chatar Singh Two Star”.

He had got permission April 11 last year, and was asked to return the passport to the CBI by Sep 20.

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