Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt was sentenced to five years in jail for illegal possession of weapons post the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai Getty

Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt was released from Yerwada prison in the western Indian city of Pune on 25 February. The Munna Bhai MBBS star was set free eight months ahead of schedule as remission for good behavior.

He was welcomed by his wife Manyata and children Iqra and Shahraan, along with director Rajkumar Hirani. Before meeting his family, Dutt saluted the Indian national flag as he walked out of prison.

Known as prisoner number 16656 at the Yerwada jail, Dutt was scheduled to fly to Mumbai on a chartered flight from Pune airport. "There is no easy walk to freedom, my friends," Dutt said en route to the airport.

The Bollywood star was sentenced to five years by the Indian Supreme Court for possession of illegal weapons post the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts, in which 257 people were killed and 713 injured. Dutt denied involvement in the blasts, but said he possessed an AK47 machine gun to protect his family during the Hindu-Muslim riots.

The 56-year-old spent 42 months in jail. Dutt's prison term was muddled in controversies, and there were allegations that the actor was given irregular parole. Some activists also alleged that he was given preferential treatment while in jail and has been released early as he is a celebrity.

However, jail superintendent UT Pawar denied the allegations and said: "His remission was worked out in compliance with jail rules and he was treated like any other convict."

During his jail term, Dutt was a radio jockey for Radio YCP, the jail's internal radio station. Apart from entertaining inmates, the actor earned a daily wage of Rs 50 (50p) for making paper bags.