|(Top) Abu Salem, Babloo Srivastava
Lucknow, Nov. 19: Abu Salem’s former D-company colleague Babloo Srivastava is ready to depose in court against the extradited don in connection with the 1993 Bombay blasts.
“I am ready to depose on the role Abu Salem played before and after the serial blasts in Mumbai,” Babloo, whose real name is Om Prakash Srivastava, told The Telegraph in an interview.
“I know Abu since 1987 as he happens to be from Uttar Pradesh. I had last seen him in Dubai in 1994,” he added.
Salem left his village in 1984 and stayed in Lucknow till 1987 when he came close to Anees Ibrahim, who took him to Dubai. Anees is the brother of Dawood Ibrahim, the alleged mastermind of the March serial blasts that killed over 250 people.
Babloo, who was produced in court today in connection with a murder case, said the Central Bureau of Investigation has “so far' not done anything” to get him to depose.
“As far as I remember, Abu was responsible for arms supply. Besides, he set up the characters in Mumbai to execute the plan of the serial blasts which in the language of the underworld is called ‘fielding’,” Babloo said.
The underworld don, who in 1996 was extradited from Singapore to India after Dawood’s men tipped off Interpol that Babloo would reach the city state from Dubai, said Salem’s claim that he parted company with “Bhaijan” ' or Dawood ' was “a fabric of lies”.
“Is he saying he had parted company with Dawood and hence a secret information was passed on to Portugal police which led to his arrest'” Babloo asked. “I know he has always been close to Dawood. The story of his falling out with Dawood is a story being fed now.”
Babloo’s advocate Ranjit Bahadur Srivastava says Salem is trying to “hide the truth” about his role in the blasts. “Abu appears to be clearly misleading the CBI and his attempt to become a government witness is a clear-cut strategy to hide the truth about his role,” the advocate said.
Adhura Khwab (Incomplete Dream), Babloo’s book on his life in the underworld and which chronicles the split in the D-company after the serial blasts, does not club Salem with those who fell out with Dawood.
The book records how after the Bombay blasts, Salem, along with other trusted D-company members, including Chhota Shakeel and Anees, began systematically wiping out associates of Chhota Rajan who refused to align with Dawood. Babloo, a former Dawood comrade, and Rajan hit back by killing cricket betting agents to damage Dawood economically.
The book records details of the murder of Irfan Goga, a trusted Babloo and Rajan associate. He was called to a ship where he was murdered and his body was dumped into the sea. “There are two places of disposing of bodies, one the sea and the other a gold foundry, so that there could be no trace of them,” says one character in the book.
The book describes conversations among D-company members and how AK-47 rifles and RDX used to be smuggled in through Mumbai and Calcutta ports.
Babloo’s associates said Salem has always been obsessed with weapons. Besides being a crack shot, he was also well informed about all types of arms and where they could be got and thus came to be used by Dawood.
Salem, they added, finally branched off to arms smuggling and this was how he amassed wealth, opening accounts everywhere. “We still believe that he had a significant role in smuggling arms for the (Mumbai) riots of 1993,” said one associate of Babloo.