NEW DELHI -- After a long wait of 42 months, Sanjay Dutt finally gets released from Yerwada Jail in Pune today, where he was serving the remainder of his five-year sentence for possession of illegal arms in the '93 Mumbai bomb blasts case.
The actor's family, friends and industry colleagues are all excited to welcome him back home, but before he settles back into daily life, Dutt has a packed day ahead of him.
After the release, the actor will fly back Mumbai and will directly visit the city's famed Siddhivinayak Temple for blessings.
After Siddhivinayak, the actor has planned to head to Marine Lines to seek blessings at his mother's grave.
Upon being released from Yerwada Jail, the 56-year-old actor saluted the national flag before leaving the premises.
WATCH: Actor Sanjay Dutt released from Pune's Yerwada Central Jail in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts casehttps://t.co/Rt5kH3VD4I— ANI (@ANI_news) February 25, 2016
Members of a group called Sangharsh Samiti protested Dutt's release outside the jail premises, but were swiftly detained by police.
"There's no easy walk to freedom, my friends," he told reporters present at the venue.
He was accompanied by wife Maanyata and filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani, with whom he has done three films, to the city airport, according to PTI.
His exit from prison also marked an immediate return to work. Hirani, who is making a biopic on Dutt starring Ranbir Kapoor, reportedly shot footage of him leaving prison, which will be used in his film, reported Mumbai Mirror>. He was quoted as saying: "We are happy that Sanju is back. He has served his term and he's going to come back and play his second innings. Indians are famous for scoring well in the second innings. I'm sure he'll come back and rock it. I look forward to his biopic and also to starting Munna Bhai 3 with him very soon."
Sanjay spent 42 months, a remainder of the his five year sentence in the Yerawada prison. His stay was mired in various controversies relating to his frequent paroles and furlough which the detractors said was granted to him as special favours due to his celebrity status.
Prison authorities and his lawyers, however, refuted the allegations, saying his remission of 144 days and his parole leave was in accordance with jail manual and prescribed rules.
The Bollywood star was arrested on April 19, 1993, for possession and destruction of an AK-56 rifle, which was a part of cache of arms and explosives which landed in India prior to the serial blasts of March 1993.
During the investigation and the marathon trial, he spent 18 months in jail. On July 31, 2007, the TADA court in Mumbai sentenced him to six years' rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000.
In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling but reduced the sentence to five years following which he surrendered to serve the rest of his sentence.
According to jail officials, Dutt was given work of making paper bags in his cell.
The actor, embroiled in heated debates over his frequent parole and furlough leave in many quarters, regularly participated in the programmes on internal circuit jail radio, jail sources said.
During his imprisonment, he was granted parole of 90 days in December 2013 and again for 30 days later.
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