Dreaded gangster Sadique Zafar alias Gudda was found dead in his cell in Dum Dum Central jail on Thursday night under mysterious circumstances.
As the body was sent for post-mortem, Gudda's mother alleged he told her only six hours earlier that he feared he would be murdered by jail wardens. Family members claimed they approached the human rights commission seven months back asking Gudda's security be increased.
Gudda's mother Sajda Khatoon claimed he was murdered as he was a prime witness to the 2008 killing of aide Mohammad Azharuddin in the Presidency jail, when prisoners clashed with jail staff to prevent Gudda's transfer to Dum Dum jail.
"On Thursday, Gudda was taken to the SSKM hospital for a check-up between 12 and 3pm. He told me he was regularly tortured in prison and jail wardens under Khairul wanted to kill him, as he was the prime witness in Azharuddin's murder," Gudda's mother told HT.
Jail sources informed that Gudda was seen by officials in his cell number three, with froth oozing from his mouth, during routine rounds at around 9.30pm on Thursday night. He was taken to the hospital where he was declared brought dead.
"Gudda's body has been sent for post-mortem. The cause of death can be ascertained only after the report comes out," IG jail Ranvir Kumar said.
Khatoon said two wardens accused in Azharuddin's murder, including Khairul, were transferred from Presidency jail to Dum Dum jail, where Gudda was lodged, and were threatening him for long not to depose against them in court.
"Seven months back, we approached the human rights commission urging them to increase Gudda's security cover as he feared for his life. On Friday, we went to register a complaint at the Dum Dum police station, but they refused to accept our complaint. We would approach the Barrackpore commiserate or the human rights commission again seeking justice," Gudda's lawyer Mudassar Alam told HT.
Police and jail officials suspect he may have died either due to excessive drug addiction, as he was known to be addicted even to lizards apart from cocaine and heroin, or due to poisoning.
"Gudda was a renowned drug addict. He used to consume heroin, cocaine, glue, N-10 tablets and even lizards for addiction. He had to be admitted to hospital once or twice a week due to poor health. He might have suffered a heart attack due to excessive addiction," said a jail official.
A section of jail officials also believe that Gudda might have been poisoned by fellow inmates over personal rivalry. Gudda, due to his clout, was known to have a number of enemies both within and outside prison.
"There were no signs of a scuffle. The room was in proper condition and so were his clothes. Neither were there any external injuries on his body. We suspect he might have been poisoned by co-inmates in the garb of providing him addictive substances," a jail official said.
Gudda, during late 90s and by the turn of the decade, was a terror in Rajabazar, Narkeldanga, Bowbazar, Amherst Street and other areas of central Kolkata. He was wanted in a number of cases including extortion, kidnapping and murder. Gudda was transferred to Dum Dum jail from Alipore jail in 2012 after an improvised gun and five rounds of live cartridges were recovered from him.
Gudda was released from jail on bail in September 2010, but was re-arrested from Park Street a few weeks later. While in jail, he made extortion calls to businessmen in the city.