An Indian court has granted film star Sanjay Dutt an extra four weeks of freedom before he must report to prison to serve his remaining term on a weapons conviction linked to the 1993 Mumbai bombings.
The Indian Supreme Court granted Dutt the four-week reprieve on Wednesday, so he can finish some of the film projects he's working on. The court had been convinced by arguments that projects worth 2.5 billion rupees ($190 million) in film production depend on the popular actor.
Dutt, 53, has already spent 18 months in jail after he was convicted of acquiring illegal weapons from the men convicted for the attacks that killed 257 people.
The actor has been out on bail fighting the conviction since 2007. Last month, the Supreme Court rejected his final appeal, though it reduced his sentence from six years to five. A week later, the actor announced he would not appeal further or seek a government pardon.
Initially, the court ordered him to return to jail by April 18; he now has until May 16. Dutt will serve 3.5 years.
Popular for his role as a do-good gangster in the Munnabhai movie series, Dutt has four films in the works, including Peekay, Policegiri, Unglee and a remake of Zanjeer. Two are due for commercial release and require his presence for promotion.
"One month is too short for the volume of work that Sanjay has on his plate. We are hoping to wrap up as much as we can," said Rensil D'Silva, producer of one of Dutt's films.
Dutt was the most high profile of more than 100 people involved in the sprawling Mumbai bombings case. Though acquitted of conspiracy in the bombings, he admitted to buying weapons from the perpetrators. The son of a Muslim mother and Hindu father, the actor maintained that he bought the guns to protect his family during sectarian riots that followed the bombings.