Jailed gangster Abu Salem is in the news again. And this time, it has nothing to do with the various cases against him.
The drama that unfolded on Tuesday afternoon centred around Pallavi Ashad, who was once part of a legal team that represented him. The lawyer attempted suicide by consuming 32 sleeping pills but was fortunately saved by her husband.
Ashad later told the police that she had tried to kill herself because Ashok Sarogi — her former employer, who used to be Salem’s lead — was trying to malign her by alleging that she was having an affair with Salem.
“I was helpless. I could not get back at Sarogi, who was spreading falsehoods about me. I tried to commit suicide to put an end to all the allegations,” Ashad told the Hindustan Times from her hospital bed.
The story soon turned into a Bollywood potboiler of sorts with Sarogi denying the charge. Instead, he accused the gangster of orchestrating the whole thing. “It’s a conspiracy. It appears that Salem is the man behind it, since I have stopped representing him. It’s been over six months since the Ashad-Salem issue came to light and I removed her from my chamber. I haven’t had any contact with her since. Why is she doing this now,” Sarogi asked.
The Ghatkopar police have booked Sarogi on charges of insulting a woman’s modesty, defamation and criminal conspiracy.
Strolling impatiently outside the intensive care unit of New Life Hospital in Ghatkopar, Ashad’s husband Abdul Ansari told HT that he and his wife had had lunch together, after which they had taken a nap. “At 4 p.m., I went out and returned after an hour and a half. Our 10-year-old son, Shaad, told me that Pallavi was still asleep. That surprised me and I tried to wake her up. I knew something was wrong as soon as I touched her,” said Ansari.
Police Inspector Phoolsingh Pawar said: “She told us that in 2006, Sarogi formed a political party in Salem’s name. Salem was furious and lost all faith in Sarogi. Sarogi, in turn, thought Ashad and Salem were having an affair and that was what led to the rift.”
Pawar added that Sarogi even convinced a news channel to flash “news” of the affair.
“We will question Sarogi and his team and seek the court’s permission to question Salem,” Pawar added.
A tearful Ansari said: “Pallavi was very upset and vowed that if Sarogi didn’t stop maligning her, she would kill herself. But I took it lightly. We had put the incident behind us until Sunday, when she saw Sarogi repeating the statement to a newspaper.”