Abu Salem faces threat to life from Dawood: Police

April 30th, 2008 - 9:28 pm ICT by admin  

Mumbai, April 30 (IANS) Mumbai Police fear assassination attempts on underworld don Abu Salem, now in their custody for trials in various cases, from his one-time boss and India’s most wanted fugitive Dawood Ibrahim and the don’s brother Anees. The police have informed the Bombay High Court that the threat looms when Salem is being escorted to the courts from the high security Arthur Road Jail. The police also cautioned that “public peace may be disturbed” if Salem is killed during transit from jail to the court and back.

Among other cases, Salem is an accused in the March 12, 1993, Mumbai serial bomb blasts in which Dawood is the prime accused and declared an absconder along with Tiger Memon and some of his relatives.

One of the high-profile accused in the case is Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who was sentenced last year and is currently out on bail.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection) D.T. Shinde, Mumbai police have received a tip-off from reliable sources that Dawood and Anees gangs have tasked their henchmen to eliminate Abu Salem, alias Abdul Qayyoom Ansari, while he is on his way to or from the courts in Mumbai or outside the city.

Shinde made the startling revelation in an affidavit to a division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Justice Bilal Nazki and Ashok Bhangale last week.

Shinde was responding to a criminal writ challenging the order of the Maharashtra home department restraining Salem from being escorted out of the jail.

The affidavit, filed by additional public prosecutor Poornima Kantharia, said there is “apprehension and likelihood” that Salem may be killed by Dawood’s henchmen, so the state government has passed the order under Sec. 268 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Justifying its fear that “public peace” may be disturbed, the police said that Salem enjoys considerable clout among the minority community in Mumbai and his native Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh.

Since Salem was extradited from Portugal almost three years ago, it is the “bounden duty of the state” to protect his life.

“If the state is unable to take care of the petitioner (Salem), the image of the country will suffer a set-back in the eyes of other countries all over the world,” the affidavit said.

This in turn may make foreign countries reluctant to extradite to India criminals needed to stand trial here.

Salem was extradited from Portugal in November 2005 along with his girlfriend, Bollywood starlet Monica Bedi.

The duo spent 39 months in a Portuguese prison and following extradition, Salem is undergoing trial in eight cases in various parts of India, including three in Mumbai.

Mumbai Police are now planning to consult the investigation agencies of other states whether his trials could be conducted through video-conferencing.

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