MUMBAI • Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt was released from prison yesterday after serving about four years for possession of weapons supplied by the mafia who orchestrated a series of deadly bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993.
The 56-year-old star walked free in the western city of Pune, after the authorities decided to release him eight months ahead of schedule for good behaviour.
He was sentenced to a six-year prison term after being convicted in 2006. In March 2013, his term was cut to five years.
Activists have fiercely opposed his release, claiming he was given special treatment. But the Maharashtra state government and Mr Dutt's lawyers say the decision was made "according to normal procedures".
The actor shot to fame in the mid-1980s in action movies by performing his own stunts, earning him the nickname "Deadly Dutt".
The 1993 attacks, which killed 257 people, were believed to have been staged by Muslim underworld figures, in retaliation for religious riots in which mainly Muslims died, after the razing of an ancient mosque in Uttar Pradesh.
Mr Dutt was found guilty of possessing an automatic rifle and a pistol, part of a cache of weapons brought to Mumbai before the attacks. Mr Dutt, whose Muslim mother and Hindu father were two of India's biggest stars, insisted the guns were only meant to protect his family.