The metropolitan magistrate court on Saturday extended the police custody of Salim Qureshi alias Salim Fruit, the brother-in-law of fugitive underworld don Chhota Shakeel, till March 14 after the prosecution claimed to probe his expansion and get more information on ’93 blast accused.
During the interrogation of Salim, the anti-extortion cell (AEC) of the Mumbai crime branch found that he had visited at least 17 to 18 countries, including China, Bangkok, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, and Turkestan, in the past three years.
Salim claimed he had visited a few countries such as China for business purposes and as a tourist to Bangkok. He told during the interrogation that he had gone for Umrah to Saudi Arabia.
Spokesperson and deputy commissioner of police Dhananjay Kulkarni confirmed Salim’s visit to several countries in the past few years after he was released from jail in the MCOCA case. “Salim’s wife had visited Pakistan in 2014 but the purpose is still not clear. The interrogation is going on,” said Kulkarni.
Salim was arrested on March 2 in connection with a 12-year-old extortion case, since then, he is in police custody.
On Saturday, while seeking further custody, the prosecution contended that Qureshi managed to get contracts for collection of debris in his local areas, which they need to probe about and also his assets. The prosecution claimed that he has purchased several properties in Bori Mohhola in south Mumbai in the past three years.
Salim’s advocate Aftab M. Qureshi said, “The prosecution wants to prove his sources of income and also about how many times his family has visited Dubai via Pakistan. They also contended that they need to extract more information on wanted accused of the ’93 serial blasts. However, we objected to such arguments.”
Aftab contended, “Salim was available to them for investigation. He also visited the crime branch regularly. Moreover, he has been acquitted in several cases. On none of the occasions, the agency chose to interrogate him. And now, after lapse of more than 10 years, they have arrested him and want to interrogate him on his links with the underworld. This cannot be allowed.”
The special holiday magistrate after hearing the arguments from both the sides, extended Salim’s custody for two more days till March 14, to facilitate the agency for further investigation.
Salim was arrested from Nagpada by the AEC sleuths of the crime branch on March 2. According to police, in 2004, Salim had demanded Rs 25 lakh from a city-based doctor. It was alleged that Salim was residing in Dubai at that time and had called from an international number.
The doctor immediately lodged a complaint, followed by the police arresting two persons red-handed, while accepting the protection money. At that time, Salim was a fugitive. He was deported to India in 2007 from Dubai and jailed.
In 2010, Salim was released on bail. After securing bail, he was on the run and several cases were lodged against him.