| Salem: Under pressure'
Mumbai, Jan. 3: Abu Salem was taken from one police station to another through last night till he apparently confessed to his involvement in the murder of builder Pradeep Jain.
His statement came at Kandivali police station, where some of Mumbai police’s encounter specialists are currently posted. Senior inspector Pradeep Sharma, who has over 100 encounters to his name, is among them. Sharma belongs to Mumbai police’s crime branch but is attached to Kandivali police station.
“Salem seemed in a mood to confess after he realised that his statements during the narco-analysis had revealed a lot. He volunteered to confess after that. He has been cooperating,” said a member of the anti-terrorist squad (ATS) who is part of the interrogating team.
Salem, he said, admitted to conducting Jain’s murder in 1995 at the behest of Dawood Ibrahim’s brother Anees Ibrahim. But no official confirmation was available.
The don’s lawyer cried foul, saying the confession had been extracted under pressure. “We have been told by the police that he confessed at the Kandivali police station. But we are surprised at the news because till yesterday evening, when Harjot Singh (Salem’s lawyer from London) and I met him, he was in no mood to confess. This must have happened under pressure,” his counsel Ashok Sarogi said.
“We went into a tizzy this morning when we went to meet him. He was not at the Wadala police station. We were told he had been taken to the ATS headquarters for confession. When we reached there, the ATS said he was in Kalachowk and finally we came to know that he was in Kandivali police station and he had made the confession there. We want to know why the police are playing this kind of cat-and-mouse game'” asked Sarogi.
Sources said Salem, who made his confessional statement before deputy commissioner of police, zone-IX, recorded it again before chief metropolitan magistrate S.S. Shirke at Esplanade court in south Mumbai.
Sarogi said the don did not look well. “I was told he has been vomiting. He has been unwell since the narco-analysis tests, which required him to receive an injection in his neck. His face and hands were swollen.”
Salem, who was produced before Tada judge Pradeep Bavkar this afternoon, was remanded in judicial custody till January 31 so that he could be produced before the special anti-terror court on the Arthur Road jail premises, which is hearing the serial blasts case, later in the day.
The don, who has been in police custody so far, was remanded in judicial custody till January 5 by Judge Kode’s special court.
Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said the ATS may seek further police custody of Salem if required after reports of the brain-mapping and narco-analysis tests come in.
“We are trying to file a chargesheet against him by the end of this month,” said an ATS official.
Mumbai police were hoping to get Salem’s custody for the Ajit Dewani murder case. Dewani was actor Manisha Koirala’s secretary.
The CBI, too, told the court today that it would seek the don’s custody after two days in the light of fresh developments in its investigation into the Bombay blasts.
The crime branch, however, dismissed rumours of an inter-agency rivalry. “We will claim Salem’s custody after the CBI is through with him,” said DCP Dhananjay Kamlakar.
Sources in Mumbai police said barring leads pertaining to the murders of Jain and Dewani, Salem’s disclosures on six other cases that he was extradited for would be shared with other prosecuting agencies.