Four cops suspended over attack on Abu Salem, probe ordered

Mumbai, June 28 (IANS) A day after the attack on mafia don Abu Salem in Taloja Central Jail (TCJ) in Navi Mumbai, the state government ordered a high-level probe and suspended four policemen Friday while the gangster’s lawyer prepared to get him repatriated to Portugal.

Salem’s lawyer Saba Qureshi will approach Portugal’s government to seek Salem’s repatriation from India.

“One of the conditions of Salem’s extradition was that he would be protected. This condition has been violated after the attack on him inside the jail. Now we plan to urge the concerned Portugal authorities to get him repatriated from India,” Qureshi told mediapersons.

Salem had been extradited to India from Portugal after a long legal battle in November 2005 with his then girlfriend Monica Bedi.

Home Minister R.R. Patil, taking serious congnizance of the incident, ordered a high-level probe by Additional Director General (Prisons) of Police Meeran Borwankar.

“Police or jail officials responsible for the lapse would face stern action after the inquiry report is received,” Patil said after discussing the matter with top officials of his ministry.

The inquiry would, among other things, probe the motive behind the attack, how the weapon came into the possession of the attacker and those found guilty could face dismissal from service, he added.

“The motive behind the attack, how the weapon reached inside the jail and other related issues are being investigated,” Navi Mumbai Police Comissioner A.K. Sharma said.

Earlier, jail authorities swung into action and suspended a jailor and three jail police personnel for lapses and dereliction of duty, based on a preliminary probe, Borwankar said.

Jailor Sanjay Sabale and constables Nitin Sawant, Chandu Pathare and Ginesh Randive were on duty at the gate of the high-security prison in Raigad when Salem was shot at twice by inmate Devendra Jagtap. He was wounded in his right arm. The weapon was a crude country-made revolver.

The incident happened in the high-security Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai, Raigad district, and sent shock-waves in the police and jail security echelons.

Jagtap, known as JD in mafia circles, is said to be a close aide of Vijay Shetty, rival of the absconding mafia don Chhota Rajan Nikhalje.

Jagtap was slapped with a case of attempted murder. He is an accused in the murder of lawyer Shahid Azmi, who had represented the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack co-accused Faheem Ansari, who was later acquitted in that case.

Salem is an accused in several cases, including the March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.

He was treated for a bullet injury at MGM Hospital in Vashi late Thursday night and was taken back to his cell Friday morning.

“He has been transferred back to TCJ. There is no cause for concern about his health,” a police official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

Salem was attacked inside a jail the second time in four years.

He had been attacked in July 2010 inside the maximum security Arthur Road Central Jail in Mumbai by rival gangster Mustafa Dossa with a sharpened spoon.

Following that incident, Salem was shifted to the Taloja jail as a precautionary measure, and Dossa shifted to Thane Jail.

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