Mohammed Mehndi Hassan, an alleged associate of underworld don Abu Salem, was shifted to Taloja jail on Sunday, a day after two members of the Pandav Putra gang allegedly attacked him at Arthur Road jail, Byculla.
Rajendra Dhamne, superintendent of Arthur Road jail, confirmed that Hassan has been shifted to Taloja as a security measure.
Three other inmates of Arthur Road jail, including Manish Thakur, accused of murdering girlfriend, Koushambi Layek, and Jerome Matthew, accused in the Neeraj Grover murder case, have also been shifted to Taloja facility in a “routine” move, Dhamne said.
Hassan was on his way back to his cell after undergoing a medical check-up at the prison dispensary, when two other inmates, Pradeep Pandey and Abhay Shelar, allegedly attacked him with a sharp object. Hassan sustained injuries on his face and arm.
The NM Joshi Marg police said they were waiting to get custody of the alleged attackers.
Senior police inspector, Vasant Tajne, said, “We will apply for the duo’s custody after obtaining permission from the MCOCA [Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act] court on Monday. We will interrogate them to find out the motive behind the attack.”
The duo has been booked under the MCOCA. Tajne said the police have witnesses to the incident.
An officer from NM Joshi Marg police station, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said, “Gang rivalry could be the motive behind the attack. Hassan was close to Abu Salem and Pandey and Shelar are members of the rival Pandav Putra gang. ”
The Crime Branch had arrested Pandey and Shelar in an extortion case a few months ago while Hassan, who was once Salem’s driver, was arrested for the murder of builder, Pradeep Jain.