Speculation was rife yet again on Wednesday over the purported date of release of incarcerated Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt from the Yerawada Central Jail in Pune.
While Dutt's lawyer Hitesh Jain claimed the actor will walk free on February 27, Maharashtra's Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil said "no decision has been taken in the matter so far".
"It is wrong to say his jail term has been reduced. Sanjay Dutt is coming out after completing his sentance and his release term has not been reduced or increased. His release date was set as February 27 before itself," Jain told IANS.
This was contrary to what Patil and Additional Director General of Police B.K. Upadhyay had to say.
"The government has not taken any decision to reduce his sentence or give remission," Patil told media persons, reacting to reports that Dutt's release was imminent by February-end.
Upadhyay, who is inspector general of police (Prisons), said, "The state government has not given any intimation on the issue so far." He remained non-committal on any probable date of Dutt's release.
Last month, a senior police official told IANS that Dutt was likely to be released by March 7, barring any unforeseen last-minute hitches.
The 56-year-old actor was sentenced to jail for five years in the March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case for illegally keeping an AK-47 assault rifle.
After his sensational arrest in 1993, Dutt spent 18 months in jail and was required to undergo imprisonment for the remaining 42 months.
Following a Supreme Court order, he surrendered to police and has been in Yerawada jail since May 2013 and was granted parole on four occasions for various reasons.