A special TADA court on Monday convicted gangster Abu Salem and two of his associates in connection with the 1995 murder of city-based builder Pradeep Jain.
The verdict is the first one against the extradited gangster under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) (TADA) act, where the court observed that he along with the other accused hatched the conspiracy to ‘create terror in the minds of Jain brothers and builder community to extort money.’
Calling it a terror act, special TADA judge GA Sanap, while convicting three accused, Salem, Mehendi Hassan Shaikh, and Virendrakumar Jhamb, said, “As per the evidence produced before the court, the prosecution has proved that a conspiracy was hatched in October 1994 by Salem, Hassan, Kayyum Ansari, Naeem Khan and wanted accused Anees Kaskar in Dubai to pressurise and force the Jain brothers to surrender rights to a property located in Dongri, Andheri.”
According to the police, Jain was shot dead on March 7, 1995 outside his Juhu bungalow. The family had alleged they were receiving threats from the underworld demanding extortion money and their property.
The court held the conspiracy was initially to threaten the brothers and that the accused had also agreed to kill one
of them in case they do not agree to their demands. The court held the purpose for the threats was to pressurise them to transfer the property, which the accused intended to hand over to another developer for a huge profit.
Later, as the brothers did not succumb to the threats, ‘Salem had moulded his plan and struck a deal with them to pay him Rs1crore’. It was also held that the Jain brothers had already paid a sum of Rs10 lakh. Pradeep Jain was then killed.
The court held that even after the murder, the family continued to receive threats from Salem.