Sanjay Dutt vs. State through C.B.I Bombay
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This article is written by Meera Patel pursuing BA.LLB (Hons.) from Maharaja Sayajirao University, School of Law. This is an exhaustive article on the case study on Sanjay Dutt vs. State case while putting special emphasis on Sections 3 and 5 of the TADA Act.


The famous actor Sanjay Dutt had served a jail time of 5 years after being sentenced for imprisonment due to his alleged involvement in the 1993 Mumbai serial blast case by the C.B.I also known as the Central Bureau of Investigation, Bombay. 

The March 19, 1993 Mumbai Blast case was based on a series of 12 bomb blasts that took place in Mumbai on March 12th. These attacks were super coordinated and are still known as one of the worst and the most destructive bomb blasts in the history of India. Moreover, this was the first finely coordinated serial bomb explosions on a global level. This article surfs through all the aspects of the case Sanjay Dutt vs. State through C.B.I Bombay in detail.

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Details of the case

Listed below are the extra details of the case of ‘Sanjay Dutt vs. State through C.B.I Bombay’.

  • Case number: Special Leave Petition (Crl.) 1834-35 of 1994
  • Petitioner: Sanjay Dutt
  • Appeal: Criminal Miscellaneous Petition
  • Respondent: State through C.B.I Bombay
  • Bench: A.M Ahmadi, J.S Verma, P.B Sawant, B.P Jeevan Reddy, N.P SING
  • Date of judgment: 9 September, 1994

Case facts

Listed below are the main facts of the Sanjay Dutt vs. State through C.B.I Bombay case.

  • The petitioner, Sanjay Dutt was one of the 189 people who were accused in this particular case which was brought under trial in the Mumbai High Court in 1993. 
  • This case was regarding the coordinated bomb blast which took place on 12 March, 1993 in Bombay. A very strong and impactful bomb blasted in a car in the basement of the Bombay Stock Exchange building at 1:30 pm on 12.2.1993. Nearly 50 people lost their lives and the building involved suffered some major damages due to the blast.
  • According to the C.B.I Bombay’s filed charge sheet, which contained some very shocking evidence that turned the tables for Mr Dutt. According to the charge sheet, on 16 January, 1993, it was proved that Sanjay managed to deliberately possess the following arms:
  • 3 AK-56 rifles 
  • 25 hand grenades 
  • One 9 mm pistol
  • Extra cartridges for the pistol
  • He managed to acquire these arms and ammunitions from the below-listed people who were accused of intending to commit a terrorist activity:
  • Anees Ibrahim Kaskar
  • Sameer Ahmad Hingora
  • Hanif Khadawala
  • Baba Ibrahim Musa Chouhan
  • Abu Salim Abdul
  • Qayoob Ansari
  • Man-Zoor Ahmad Sayed Ahmad 
  • Sanjay Dutt was accused of possessing one AK-56 rifle, one pistol, and a few cartridges after giving the rest to his accomplices. This was proved after a few parts of the rifle, the pistol, and around 53 rolls of live cartridges were acquired by the C.B.I from his residence while the investigation was at its peak.
  • It was later on uncovered that Sanjay’s accomplices adamantly demolished the evidence from the residence of the petitioner as per the orders of Sanjay himself. Listed below are the accused who managed to destroy the evidence from Sanjay’s house to protect him, thus making them guilty of the offence under Section 201 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • Yusuf Mohsin Nullwaal
  • Kesri Bapuji Adenia
  • Rusi Framrose Mulla
  • Ajay Yashprakash Marwah 
  • Sanjay Dutt was charged for various offences which mainly incorporated Section 5 of the TADA ACT. (Terrorist Disruptive Activities Act)
  • The petitioner was charged depending on the testimony of various eye and ear witnesses, a few unclear yet incriminating occurrences, and lastly a non-doctored confession of Sanjay Dutt himself. 
  • In the aforesaid confession, the petitioner duly confirmed that he did receive the said arms and ammunitions but he also stated that he returned all the arms except one AK-56 rifle to the people mentioned above after 2 days that is on 18 January, 1993. The petitioner confirmed that he kept one of the three rifles merely for self-defence. 
  • Sanjay Dutt very clearly mentioned that the only reason why he kept the rifle was for self-protection. To be precise, in the confession of the petitioner, he mentioned that due to the forced demolition of Babri Masjid, on 5.12.1992 in Ayodhya, his father who was a Member of the Parliament back then was receiving many threats because of the enthusiastic and agile efforts he made to restore the peace and harmony between both the religious groups. Not only Sunil Dutt (the petitioner’s father) but his whole family faced various incidents where they had to face some serious life threats and this is why he had the rifle and other ammunition for the protection of his family. 
  • The petitioner’s side defended themselves by stating that the mere act of possessing the aforementioned arms and ammunitions cannot add up to an offence under Section 5 of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act. They argued that the only offence the petitioner had made was under the illegal possession of arms and ammunition which falls under the Arms Act, 1959 which states that the government of India has implemented this law to identify and confiscate illegal weapons and to put a constraint on weapon-related violence.
  • The sole reason for the petitioner to file this case is regarding a request for the court to set bail for his arrest. A few other facts were examined too which included the plea for his bail based on his actions. The petitioner urged the court to consider the fact that his actions weren’t affiliated with any kind of terrorist or disruptive activity.

Mumbai High Court judgment

Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act

According to the Indian Constitution, the TADA Act which is fully elaborated as the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act indicates a hazy but somewhat clear meaning of what the act might state. The TADA Act states that :

  • If any person is found out to be in contact with or is associated with any other person who is affiliated with terrorist or disruptive activities can be charged with this act.
  • Other than that, if a person is found out to be in an unlawful communication network of handing on, official printing, or administering the dispensing of information which could be used to abet the terrorists or disruptions is counted as an offence under this act.
  • Proffering information, endorsing into abetting the terrorists, or the distortionist financially or in any other form is counted as an offence under this act.

Punishments and the measures that are registered in the constitution under the TADA Act 

  • Section 3, TADA Act Punishments for the terrorist activities

Any person who is accused of being the person who tends to daunt the laws of a country and disrupt the country’s peace by hitting the sire spots of the country by terror such as:

  • derange the harmony between different communities
  • estrange minor groups
  • Wrecking property
  • Murdering people
  •  Setting interference in services
  • Menacing or intimidating people
  • By plainly using arms and ammunition such as
  • Dynamites
  • Bombs
  • Guns
  • Rifles
  • Poisonous chemicals and gases, etc.

They can easily become the reason for death and are counted as offences under this act.

The punishments that fall under ‘punishment for terrorists’ are:

Section 3(2)(i) TADA Act 

If any aforementioned activities lead to the death of a person, then the criminal will be either sentenced to death or will receive a sentence of life imprisonment. The offender may or may not be liable to fine.

Section 3(2)(ii) TADA Act

This depends on the gravity of the crime but if the crime committed isn’t as fatal that the criminal needs to be sentenced to death, then the criminal shall be given a sentence of imprisonment of at least 5 years which can be stretched to life imprisonment.

Section 3(3) TADA Act

Any offender who attempts to abet or affiliated with any kind of terrorist activities by supporting them monetarily, counselling them, etc shall be penalized with a sentence of imprisonment for at least 5 years which could be stretched for life imprisonment with or without a fine.

Section 3(4) TADA Act

Any person who may try to or succeeds in destroying the evidence related to the terrorist activities in fear of getting caught will have to face a sentence of at least 5 years in jail which can be stretched into life imprisonment with fine.

Section 3(5) TADA Act

All the accomplices who are directly liable for conducting any terrorist activities shall need to face jail time for at least 5 years and it can stretch up to life imprisonment and that person shall also need to pay a fine.

Section 3(6) TADA Act

Any person who is found out to own anything that has been obtained from the terrorist activities such as funds, arms, destroyed shreds of evidence, etc shall be liable to face jail time of minimum 5 years and that sentence may be extended up to life imprisonment and the person will be liable to pay a fine too.

Section 4, TADA Act Punishments for the disruptive activities

Any person who decides to collude in attempts to aid or consciously finance the disruptive activities shall face a jail time sentence of at least 5 years which can be stretched up to life imprisonment and the offender will need to pay a fine along with the jail time too.

Section 5, TADA Act Punishments for the disruptive activities

This section specifically focuses on the possession of any arms, ammunition, or weapons with a conscious mind. If any person possesses any kind of illegal weapons or arms shall be considered a criminal under this section of the TADA Act.

Schedule 1 of the Arms Act, 1962 mentions that if a person possessing the following arms which aren’t officially sanctioned will have to face jail time of at least 5 years which may stretch up to life imprisonment and the criminal will need to pay a fine too.

Related laws 

Sanjay Dutt was charged with the following charges:

Criminal Conspiracy 

This charge was stripped down later on as the C.B.I, as well as the High Court, failed to establish the grounds of conspiracy.

Section 3(3) of the Terrorist and disruptive (prevention) Act

This charge was stripped down later on as the C.B.I, as well as the High Court, failed to establish the grounds of the intention of aiding and colluding with the terrorists or the terrorist activity that took place in Mumbai.

Section 5 of the Terrorist and disruptive (prevention) Act

Based on the first impression, the petitioner was stated as not guilty. The reason for the possession of the arms and ammunition wasn’t established which would have proved his direct connection with the terrorist activities mentioned above.

Section 6 of the Terrorist and disruptive (prevention) Act

The charge for willingly possessing illegal arms and ammunition to aid terrorist activities was not established therefore this charge was stripped down too.

Section 3 and 7 of the Arms Act, 1959 + Section 25 (1-A) and (1-B) of the Arms Act, 1959

The petitioner was found guilty of possessing illegal weapons knowingly. The charges he was finally changed with speculates a sentence of a minimum of five to ten years.


The commonly known statement ‘Lady Justice is blind’ might not work all the time but there are cases where the courts have given justice and punishments to the deserving people. Sanjay Dutt, who is a Bollywood actor had to face a lot of jail time for his actions. He had to face jail time even after having a very strong influence as his protection who was his father Sunil Dutt who was a member of the Parliament of India during 1993. Even though various controversies arose since the court stripped the charges of the TADA Act from Sanjay Dutt and only sentenced him as an offender for possessing unauthorized arms and ammunition, many think that the court was paid off to go easy on the petitioner as he was from a very glorious background. Some good old nepotism always tends to hinder the justice system. No one is sure whether it is for real or not but this pointer cannot go unnoticed. 



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