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Journalist Who Broke the News of Dutt’s Arrest Trashes ‘Sanju’

The reporter who broke the news of Sanjay Dutt’s link to the 1993 blasts case doesn’t want to watch ‘Sanju’.

Updated
India
5 min read
Journalist Who Broke the News of Dutt’s Arrest Trashes ‘Sanju’
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Veteran crime journalist Baljeet Parmar claims to have dined with Dawood Ibrahim and to have been shot at by Chhota Rajan’s men. Incidentally, he’s also the man who first broke the news of Sanjay Dutt’s link in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.

In a 2007 article titled “How I broke the Dutt story”, Parmar had written about how he first got a whiff of the fact that Dutt’s name had cropped up in the Mumbai bombings investigations.

One month after the blasts – on 13 April 1993 – Parmar made “casual enquiries about the progress of the case” from YC Pawar, who was heading the investigation team. Pawar told him, “Apke MP ke bete ka naam aa raha hai (Your MP’s son’s name is coming in the investigation).

“It did not take me long to figure out that the MP being referred to was Sunil Dutt. However, I could not confirm it since all the senior officers, including the then commissioner of police, Amarjeet Singh Samra, were tight-lipped,” said Parmar in an interview to PTI.

Parmar then called another IPS officer at the Mahim station and tried his luck by saying,“Suna hai aapne kisi MP ke bete ko uthaya hai” (I have heard that you have picked up an MP’s son).

Parmar’s shot in the dark hit bulls eye. “No, we haven’t as he is shooting abroad,” the officer replied. It had to be Sanjay Dutt – and that’s how Parmar got his big breaking story.

Sanjay Dutt outside a court in Mumbai in 1993.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

In his 2007 article for DNA, Parmar goes on to say that Sanjay Dutt had called him from Mauritius to know the details of the police case against him. Here’s an excerpt:

“I told him (Sanjay Dutt) that his friends Samir Hingora and Yusuf Nulwala had squealed on him. “Oh my God,” said Dutt, and disconnected. Two hours later he called again, wanting to know about the punishment if he got caught.

I told him. If he surrendered with weapons, he would be charged under the Arms Act and could get bail. But if the police arrested him and recovered the weapons, he could be charged under TADA — without bail.”

‘Hirani, His Ilk Are Out There to Make a Quick Buck’

Twenty five years later, one would imagine that Parmar would be a little excited to watch the Sanjay Dutt biopic. However, in a recent Facebook post, the journalist describes Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju as an attempt to make a quick buck – and trashed it for being a PR exercise without watching it.

Here are excerpts from Parmar’s FB post (with original typos intact) :

  • During the last two days I have received hundreds of messages and requests to react on the film SANJU. First of all let me confess that I am not a film buff. The last time I went to watch a movie was in 1997.
  • It is a waste of time to discuss merits or dismerits of films like SANJU or it's protagonist Sanjay Dutt.
  • Hirani and his ilk are out there to make a quick buck. That is their business and they have every right to do it.
  • The use or misuse of drugs, sleeping with women, branding media as an addictive potion, finding faults with system or society, willingly and knowingly Indulge in criminal activity, showing no remorse for your past actions, playing the sympathy card and crying victim, if that is what SANJU is about, I do not regret my decision of staying away from cinema halls.

Here’s Parmar’s original Facebook post:

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You can read Parmar’s complete FB post below:

“During the last two days I have received hundreds of messages and requests to react on the film SANJU. First of all let me confess that I am not a film buff. The last time I went to watch a movie was in 1997.

But that doesn't mean that I am alien to the medium. My first brush with Bollywood was in 1976 when I landed in Mumbai from Chandigarh. My friend Labh Singh was working for Himalaya Films and I stayed with him at Shri Chetan Anand's shack at Juhu where I had the privilege of, meeting Dev Saab, Goldie ji, Raj Kumar, Vinod Khanna, Pran Saab, Shekhar Kapoor among many others.

During the period Chetan Saab started 'hathon ki Lakrrein 'and his son Kunki Baba completed his film with Shekhar and Shsbana. I was a part of the production team. It was here at Himalaya Films that I got my big career break courtesy Kunki Baba and vital help from his general manager Poras Dartuwalla who introduced me to Sam Cambata and Kali Mody who had the security contract for hotels Holiday Inn, Juhu, Ambassador at Churchgate and Wellington Club. I was made the Chief Security Officer and operated from Juhu.

In those days Holiday Inn was nerve centre of Bollywood activities. Every other day there was a Mahurat or a filmi party.

My job and position put me in direct contact with many known personalities. Dharam Bhaji gave us contract to guard his bungalow which made made me to visit him often. The extended Deol family --Bauji, Ajit Bhaaji, Virender,, Jagdarshan, Ranjit Virk became my family too and still remains the same. I still cherish the moments like having a drink with Rajesh Khanna, Pran Saab, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Raj Kumar, Achha Anand or enjoying card sessions at Narinder Bedi's Khar Bungalow.

The point I want to make is that I have seen film industry from very close quarters.But at the same time I never felt at home in the filmdom. I still have many friends and well wishers like Raj Babbar, Milan Luthria, Madhur Bhandarkar, Satish Kaushik to name a few but I never discuss films with them. We just exchange pleasantries or chat about the underworld.

Having said that I very strongly feel that it is a waste of time to discuss merits or dismerits of films like SANJU or it's protagonist Sanjay Dutt. Hirani and his ilk are out there to make a quick buck. That is their business and they have every right to do it. They are there to compose fiction and not portraying facts. Fiction is soft. Facts are hard. One is very easy to manufacture the other is difficult to gather. The so-called bio pics are tailored to suite the man or the woman they are based on. They are not to inspire the audiences but are there to create a smokescreen to blur their minds.

The use or misuse of drugs, sleeping with women, branding media as an addictive potion, finding faults with system or society, willingly and knowingly Indulge in criminal activity, showing no remorse for your past actions, playing the sympathy card and crying victim, if that is what SANJU is about, I do not regret my decision of staying away from cinema halls.”

“Sanjay Has An AK-56”

was the headline of Parmar’s breaking news report and Dutt’s lawyer, Ram Jethmalani, immediately sent him a Rs 1 crore legal notice, asking him to prove the facts. While the police neither denied nor confirmed the story, Dutt was arrested on 19 April 1993 after he landed at the Mumbai airport from Mauritius.

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