Actor Sanjay Dutt kissed the ground and saluted the flag as he walked out of jail this morning after completing his sentence in an arms case related to the 1993 Mumbai blasts.
“I waited for this day of azadi (freedom) for 23 years,” he told reporters much later at his home.
“I am not a terrorist. I was in jail under the Arms Act. It is a request, please don’t call me a 1993 Bombay blast convict,” he appealed at the press conference.
Hefting a large bag as he emerged from Pune’s Yerwada jail at around 8.45 am, the 56-year-old actor walked to his wife Maanayata, twins Iqra and Shahraan and filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani, his friend.
To his ‘best half’ Maanayata – who he said had suffered the most – he handed over the Rs. 440 he had earned making paper bags in prison.
The actor was driven away in a white SUV to the airport, from where he took a chartered plane.
“There is no easy walk to freedom, my friends,” he said, smiling, to media personnel at the Pune airport
After reaching Mumbai, Mr Dutt headed straight to the famous Siddhivinayak temple to offer prayers to Lord Ganesha. He then went to his mother Nargis Dutt’s grave in Marine Lines before heading to his Pali Hill home.