Indian film actor Sanjay Dutt will stop fighting his conviction on weapons charges and serve out his term in jail, he announced on Thursday.
Last week, India's Supreme Court rejected the hit actor's final appeal. He had been convicted of owning an assault rifle supplied by the same gangsters who carried out the Mumbai 1993 bombings.
There had been speculation that the high-profile actor would ask the Indian government for a pardon, a suggestion raised earlier this month by a retired Supreme Court judge. Given Dutt's profile in the Hindi film industry, many said they were willing to support efforts to seek a pardon.
However, in a tearful three-minute address to the media on Thursday, Dutt said it was time for him to face his jail term, which the Supreme Court has reduced to five years.
Not seeking a pardon
"There are many other people who deserve pardon. I just want to say with folded hands that when I'm not going for a pardon then there's no debate about it," he said.
"I love my country and I love the citizens of my country and I love India. I love India," he said, breaking down as his sister —Congress party MP Priya Dutt — consoled him.
Dutt said his family was "shattered" by his need to serve jail time. He then left for the set of a film in which he plays a police officer — one of several of his films under production. The actor, popular for his role as a do-good gangster in the Munnabhai movie series, has four films in the pipeline, including Peekay, Policegiri, Unglee and a remake of Zanjeer.
The actor has been on bail since 2007, when he appealed an original sentence of six years for the illegal possession of an AK-56 rifle and a pistol. He was cleared that same year of conspiracy charges in the case, which was linked to the Mumbai attacks that killed 257 people. Dutt claimed the weapons he possessed were to protect him and his family during a period of rioting in Mumbai.
The Supreme Court has ordered Dutt to return to custody within four weeks. He had already served 18 months in jail and is expected to serve another 3.5 years.