Sanjay Dutt seeks suspension of conviction to fight elections (Lead)

March 5th, 2009 - 4:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, March 5 (IANS) Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking suspension of his conviction for possessing firearms during the 1993 Mumbai serial terror bombings to enable him fight the forthcoming general elections.
Dutt, who was sentenced to six years in jail by an anti-terror court, moved the court seeking parity with cricketer-turned-Bharatiya Janata Party parliamentarian Navjot Singh Sidhu, whose conviction in a case of unintentional killing was stayed by the apex court in 2007 to enable him run for elections.

Dutt’s plea is slated to be heard Friday, said advocate Gaurav Bhatia, who moved the apex court on behalf of the cine star. Dutt is expected to stand from the Lucknow seat on a Samajwadi Party ticket.

As per electoral laws, a person convicted for a criminal offence and sentenced to jail for more than two years is barred from running for elections.

Though Dutt has already filed another suit in the apex court challenging his conviction, the court has yet to adjudicate on it.

He moved the apex court as an interim measure to have his conviction suspended for the time being to fight the elections.

He was taken into custody on July 31, 2007, when the Mumbai anti-terror court sentenced him to six years in jail. On Nov 27, 2007, the apex court granted him bail, pending a decision on his plea against conviction.

Dutt had pleaded to the court that he has no criminal antecedents and had been acquitted of terror charges by the Mumbai court. He also pleaded that he belongs to a family of well-known social servants, with his father representing south Mumbai several times in the Lok Sabha.

Dutt also sought suspension of his conviction on the grounds that the United Nation has chosen him as its Goodwill Ambassador on malnutrition.

While seeking parity with Navjot Singh Sidhu, Dutt said like Sidhu he too has no serious or grave criminal antecedents.

Sidhu was convicted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2007 in a case of unintentional killing after a minor road accident. He had quit his Amritsar seat and approached the apex court to seek suspension of his conviction to fight for the same seat in a by-poll, which was granted by the court.

Incidentally, on Wednesday the court had dismissed a similar plea by underworld don Babloo Srivastava.

Srivastava had moved the apex court last month for suspension of his conviction so that he could fight the election.

But the apex court Wednesday dismissed his plea, agreeing with Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran’s argument that the underworld don has grave criminal antecedents and he had to be extradited from Singapore to bring him to justice in India.

Srivastava is serving a life term in an Uttar Pradesh jail for murdering a bureaucrat in 1993.

Lok Sabha MP Rajiv Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav too has moved the Patna High Court seeking suspension of his conviction in a murder case to fight the forthcoming general elections.

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