Hours after a rival gangster used a spoon to slash Abu Salem’s face, the state government has decided to move the 1993 serial blasts accused out of the Arthur Road central jail in south Mumbai.
“We have decided to shift Salem to either the Thane district jail or the Taloja central jail [in Raigad],” Minister of State for Home Ramesh Bagwe told Hindustan Times.
Home Department officials said Salem is being shifted to avoid any further security breaches or clashes between him and rival gangsters.
Bagwe also visited Arthur Road jail to take stock of security arrangements, after BJP legislator Eknath Khadse raised the issue of the security breach in the Assembly on Saturday afternoon.
Salem was attacked just after breakfast on Saturday, allegedly by fellow 1993 blast accused Mustafa Dossa. He received first aid at the prison hospital before being returned to his barracks. Dossa is a key aide of fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim; Salem is a former Dawood gang member.
The two factions have been at odds ever since Salem quit the gang after the 1993 serial blasts and went solo, running his own smuggling and extortion operations.
“Salem keeps to himself and doesn’t mess with anyone unless provoked,” said an underworld source who was also lodged at the Arthur Road jail a few months ago and is currently out on bail. “He uses all his free time to exercise in his cell. It’s his way of keeping away from his rivals. He spends almost four hours every day working out.” Salem has been at the Arthur Road jail ever since his extradition from Portugal in 2005. Dossa has been at the prison since he was deported from Dubai in 2003.
At Thane, the district jail currently houses dismissed encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma and seven of his coterie, awaiting trial in a fake encounter case.
The Taloja facility, classified as a central jail, was constructed two years ago to ease overcrowding at the Arthur Road and Nashik jails.