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MUMBAI - Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt was jailed for six years yesterday for obtaining guns from gangsters involved in India's worst bombings, ending an epic trial that has transfixed the country with tales of terror and revenge.
Dutt, an immensely popular star known for his macho anti-hero roles and troubled private life, was found guilty of acquiring illegal weapons from those blamed for the bombings in Mumbai that killed 257 people in 1993.
He has already served 16 months in jail while awaiting trial and his lawyer said he would appeal. He has millions of rands riding on him in films under production, and millions more fans.
The muscular 48-year-old was cleared of conspiracy charges in the serial blasts in India's financial capital, but was found guilty of illegal possession of an automatic rifle and a pistol.
"The crime was not brutal, cruel, ghastly, inhuman, not anti-social, not immoral and did not result in any harm to anyone," Judge Pramod Kode said, but added it was still a serious offence, and that he had encouraged others to break the law.
The actor is the most high-profile among 100 people, mostly Muslims, found guilty in the bombings trial, one of the world's longest court cases.
The 1993 Mumbai attacks were ordered by India's most wanted man, Dawood Ibrahim, a Muslim, to avenge the razing of a 16th-century mosque by Hindu zealots in 1992 and subsequent Hindu-Muslim riots in India, police say. Ibrahim is believed to be hiding in Pakistan, but the government in Islamabad denies this. - Reuters