Sanjay Dutt Guilty in Mumbai blast trial

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Bollywood reacts to news

BOLLYWOOD star Sanjay Dutt has been found guilty in connection with the 1993 Mumbai blasts in India.

The 47-year-old star was convicted of possessing illegal firearms and will be sentenced at a later date.

He was cleared of a more serious charge of conspiracy in the attacks which killed 257 people and injured over 700 more.

Delivering the verdict Judge PD Kode said the actor was guilty of illegally possessing weapons that had been given to him by some of the men accused of carrying out the bomb attacks, but he added: “I’ve not found him to be a terrorist or destructor.”

Dutt was part of more than 123 defendants facing trial over the blasts.

He was arrested 13 years ago in connection with the blasts and spent more than two years in jail before being released on bail.

The actor, who resurrected his career after being released from prison, has always maintained his innocence.

He was caught with an AK-56 rifle, ammunition and hand grenades which were allegedly part of smuggled arms meant for the bombings.

He told prosecutors the devices were for his own protection and denied knowing underworld figure Dawood Ibrahim who despite being largely responsible for the blasts, has still not been caught by police.

The blasts have been largely accredited to India’s underworld, who at the time largely Muslim were believed to have acted in retaliation to religious riots a few months earlier that left more than 2,000 Muslims dead across India.

While it is unclear how the conviction will affect Dutt’s career in Bollywood, he has received support of his fellow industry stars.

While Bollywood stars Fardeen Khan and Vivek Oberoi visited him a day before the verdict, co-star Ahmed Warsi who starred alongside Dutt in his latest hit Munnabhai welcomed the actors acquittal on conspiracy charges.

“We thank the almighty that he has been given a milder conviction,” Warsi told an Indian news channel.

“Thank god they did not say that he is a terrorist. He is not a terrorist, not a criminal…He is a clear cut good man,” he added.

“Everybody in his life makes stupid mistakes and every actor in the film industry at one point of time must have thought of possessing a weapon.”

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