Extradited gangster Abu Salem was on Thursday sentenced to life imprisonment by a Mumbai court in the 1993 serial blasts case. Here are some facts about the dreaded gangster that you may not have known.
>> Born as Abdul Qayoom Ansari, Abu Salem was known by a number of aliases including Aqil Ahmed Azmi and Abu Samaan.
>> Originally for Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Abu Salem came to Mumbai in the eighties and worked for his cousin Akhtar who used to run an electronics shop near Andheri station. Abu’s brother also worked for Sayyed Topi, who was then the gang leader for Dawood Ibrahim in the Andheri area.
>> Salem started off in the D-Company as a driver and used to transport weapons and contraband. His ability to deliver goods on time and as promised earned him the name Abu Samaan.
>> He later rose in the ranks when he managed to beat the Mumbai Police’s strategy to kill gang members with sharp shooters. Abu had the D-company hire out of work youth from Azamgarh, who were untraceable by the cops as they had no criminal history. What made it better was the fact that they had to be paid very little.
>> Abu Salem was thought to be the mastermind behind threatening Bollywood film producers such as Gulshan Kumar, Subhash Ghai, Rajiv Rai and Rakesh Roshan.
>> In order to mask the goings on of the D-Company, Abu Salem opened a travel agency in Santa Cruz with J K Ibrahim, a man who worked for Dawood.
>> His gang assassinated Gulshan Kumar in 1997 and tried to assassinate Rajiv Rai and Rakesh Roshan but failed. After the assassination of Gulshan Kumar, Abu Salem is believed to have distanced himself from the D-company and is said to have started his own operation independently.
>> Involved in several murder, extorsion and ancillary cases, Abu Salem was arrested in 2002 in Portugal and extradited to India. He was later tried and convicted in 2015. Abu Salem supplied weapons to actor, Sanjay Dutt.
>> He played a pivotal role in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts that killed 250 people, left 700 injured and damaged property worth 270 million. Subsequently, in 1993, Abu Salem left the country and moved to Dubai, where he started his company Kings of Car Trading. It was also during this time that the police started rounding up suspects in the 1993 Mumbai Serial Bomb Blast
>> Abu Salem was convicted in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, murder of music baron Gulshan Kumar, Indian actress Manisha’s secretary, a builder and 50 other cases.
>> In Septermber 2002, Abu Salem was arrested with Monica Bedi by Interpol in Lisbon, Portugal. The Interpol had tracked his phone using GPS location.
>> In February 2004, a Portugal court allowed Abu Salem to be extradited to India, and face trial in the 1993 Mumbai Blast case, he was handed over by the Portugal authorities to India, on the assurance that the Indian government would not hand him the death penalty.
>> When caught in Lisbon, Abu Salem, denied his identity and the only way that he could be identified was through his finger prints and photographs that were taken after his arrest in 1991. Monica Bedi, was also extradited but was convicted of passport forgery in 2006. She served her prison sentence but was absolved of any involvement in Abu Salem’s activities.
>> Abu Salem is also a singer and in August 2013, Sukhwinder Singh Maan alias Sukha Delhi wala revealed that he would release a song composed by Abu Salem while lodged in Tihar Jail, in his next Music Album.
>> Worth Rs 55 billion, Abu Salem’s property has been valued at Rs 10 million. Currently it has been divided between him and his wife Samira Jumani. Salem is said to stake claim over 2 million. As per the CBI, this is said to be a conservative estimate.
>> Abu Salem married Samira Jumani, a 17-year-old college girl in 1991, with whom he had a son. As per her statement to an interviewer, Abu Salem was a 'violent, psychotic' man.
-with inputs from agencies
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