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Indian actor Sanjay Dutt sentenced in weapons case

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NEW DELHI (AP) - India's Supreme Court sentenced Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt to five years in jail Thursday for illegal weapons possession in a case linked to a 1993 bombing that killed 257 people in Mumbai.

The court ordered Dutt to surrender to police within four weeks on the charge of possessing three automatic rifles and a pistol that were supplied to him by men subsequently convicted in the bombing.

The actor's case was part of a sprawling Mumbai bombing trial that has dragged on for 18 years. Dutt maintains that he knew nothing about the bombing plot and that he asked for the guns to protect his family _ his mother was Muslim and his father Hindu _ after receiving threats during sectarian riots in Mumbai.

The Supreme Court had earlier sentenced Dutt to six years in prison. He served 18 months in jail before he was released on bail in November 2007 pending an appeal in the top court.

The court had earlier acquitted Dutt of the more serious charges of terrorism and conspiracy.

Dutt's lawyer Satish Maneshinde said the 53-year-old actor would take some time before deciding on his next step.

Despite his brush with the law and his stints in jail, Dutt's Bollywood career flourished over the past two decades. He gained enormous popularity for a series of Hindi films in which he played the role of a reformed thug who follows the teachings of nonviolence advocate and Indian independence hero Mohandas Gandhi.

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