iconimg Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mohamed Thaver, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, July 03, 2013
The crime branch of Mumbai police that is conducting a parallel probe into the firing on gangster Abu Salem in Taloja jail detained Manoj Lahamane, the man suspected to have provided the firearm used by shooter Devendra Jagtap alias JD, on Tuesday for questioning.

The crime branch is hoping Lahamane, if he indeed passed on the country-made revolver, will help them get details of the plot to eliminate Salem and those behind it.

During his initial interrogation by the Navi Mumbai crime branch, Jagtap had told officials that Lahamane, who once worked with him for the Bharat Nepali gang, had given him the pistol. “Soon after this, we started looking out for Lahamane and picked him up on Tuesday. We are questioning him to find out if he indeed provided the firearm to Jagtap,” an officer said.

“If he was the weapon carrier, he should be able to tell us who gave him the order to supply the weapon. This should help us get more details about the plot to eliminate Salem,” the officer said. The officer added that apart from Lahamane, around 15 persons who are known to be close to Jagtap, have been interrogated by the property cell of crime branch.

The officer said the attack did not appear to be orchestrated by Salem. “It seems to be a genuine attack and had the country-made firearm not jammed after two rounds, Salem would have been eliminated.”

So far, four policemen including a jailor of Taloja central prison have been suspended for the lapse. “There is a good chance that the escort staff of the local arms police unit that accompanied Jagtap to the court may also face action,” the officer said.

Meanwhile, Meeran Borwankar, additional director general of police (prisons) said her probe into the lapses at Taloja prison is underway.