Paranoid Sanjay Dutt was afraid he’d be killed in an encounter while being transferred from jail, recalls ex-IPS officer: ‘He started sweating, complained of fever’ | Bollywood News


Former IPS officer Meeran Chadha Borwankar, who wrote about her stint as the additional director general of police (prisons) when actor Sanjay Dutt was convicted of illegal possession of firearms during the 1993 Mumbai blasts, spoke about her interactions with him in a new interview. She denied that he received any preferential treatment in jail, and said that it was always in his interest to be well-behaved because otherwise, his furlough and parole would’ve been denied. In her book, she also recalled how paranoid the actor became when he was about to be transferred to another jail.

Asked if he was ‘too nice’ a prisoner, she said in an interview with Cyrus Broacha on his podcast, “He used his sources to find out that I’m from Punjab. He embarrassed me a little. But the main issue was the media alleging that we give him special treatment, which we did not. And he was nice generally because his parole and furlough was dependant on his behaviour in the prison. Had he not behaved, we would not have permitted him furlough or parole. Kaam bhi karta tha, beedi aur cigarette bhi khareed leta tha. On the whole, he had realised that here he had better behave.”

Asked if he got his Munna Bhai director Rajkumar Hirani to help put together a show inside the prison, she said, “We were planning a welfare show like Umang, and for that, yes, he contacted… The show was good, but we could not go ahead with it.”

Cyrus also brought up a ‘controversy’ about the actor getting home food in prison, and Borwankar replied, “It’s not a controversy, it’s a fact. When big politicians, Bollywood heroes and heroines, when they land up in prison, they think they’re VIPs. Their knowledge about law is poor. When Sanjay Dutt was in Arthur Road jail, he was an under-trial, and he was permitted home food. Once we were shifting him to Yerawada, after his conviction, from under-trial, his legal status becomes of a convict.”

She said that the police opposed the decision to grant him home food once he was convicted, and Dutt didn’t protest. “He got a Magistrate’s order about home food. Magistrate was wrong. We told him we would challenge this order, and that we were 100% sure that we would get it vacated, you will not get home food. From day one, he said, ‘I’m okay, I’m fine’. Challenging that order, getting it vacated, informing the court that it is an incorrect order, it took us some time. But from the first day itself, he said, ‘Jaisa aapko…’”

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In her book, the former officer also recalled the story of how paranoid Dutt became when he was scheduled to be transferred from the Arthur Road jail to the Yerawada Jail in Pune. He was convinced that he would be killed in an encounter, and had to be calmed down. “Dutt was afraid that he would be killed in an encounter on the way! His fear was so real that he started sweating and complained of having a fever. Meanwhile, news of his move out of Arthur Road Jail was leaked and a huge crowd started to gather outside the prison gates,” she wrote, according to India Today. Borwankar added, “So, we decided to postpone the transfer and withdrew the team that had been deployed. Dutt was counselled against making his shift to Yerawada an issue and it was impressed upon him that his apprehension about an ‘encounter’ was misplaced. Sometime later we were able to quietly and successfully move him and prevented the sober work of judicial custody from becoming a public farce.”

A film about the actor’s life, which includes the time he spent in jail, was made by Hirani in 2018. Titled Sanju, the film starred Ranbir Kapoor in the lead role, and emerged as a big box office hit.

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