April 12, 2009
There is breaking news from Lucknow, the Samajwadi Party stronghold, where party secretary Sanjay Dutt is campaigning for Nafisa Ali — the candidate who replaced him in this constituency after he was denied permission by the Supreme Court to contest the Lok Sabha elections.
Apparently wife Manyata has taken off to the Bahamas in a huff. She is said to be mighty upset that Sanjay refused to let her file her candidature instead, which was the Samajwadi Party’s gameplan originally. Which is intriguing because when Sanjay announced Nafisa’s nomination on television, he had said, “Manyata recommended Nafisa’s name. And the party high command went along with this decision.’’ Now the Bollywood actor is in the thick of campaigning, but Manyata who was by his side in all the rallies earlier, is nowhere in the picture. BT learned from reliable sources in Dutts’s inner circle that Manyata was absolutely keen to contest the elections. “But Sanjay Dutt put his foot down and told her that she should not even consider contesting,’’ said the insider. An argument apparently took place between them following which a livid Manyata flew off to the Bahamas ostensibly to look at some property deal. Dharam Oberoi, Sanjay’s secretary and confidante, confirmed that Manyata went to the Bahamas and is currently in London looking after her textile business interests. But he refused to elaborate on the tension between the couple and said, “I have been instructed by my boss not to entertain the media and I would not like to comment on any matter pertaining to him.”
Meanwhile, BT also learned that though the rivalry between Sanjay and his sister, Congress MP Priya Dutt, may currently be at its peak, the actor has been a generous brother all the while. When their father Sunil Dutt expired in May 2005, he had left all his property in his son Sanjay’s name. A source said, “Sanjay, who was extremely protective about his sisters Namrata and Priya, suggested that the property be shared in equal parts between the three siblings. He actually played very fair with his sisters.’’ A certain amount of tax was levied on the assets when Sunil Dutt’s income tax return was filed after his death, which the Dutts have differences against and arbitration is now on with the authorities concerned.