Noted gangster Abu Salem was shot at and sustained a minor injury to his hand on Thursday night at Taloja Central Prison in Navi Mumbai.
According to police, the incident took place at around 9.30 pm just as Salem had stepped out of his barracks.
Sources inside the prison, however, question how the shooter, Devendra Baburao Jagtap, could have fired on Salem, as the two are known to be close friends. “Perhaps Salem wants to return to Portugal; he may well have staged the entire firing to put pressure on India,” the source said.
The source further questioned how Jagtap missed Salem and only manged to hit the hand.
According to other sources though, Salem had an altercation with Jagtap, an accused in the advocate Shahid Azmi murder case, over protection money paid within the jail a few weeks ago. He had also threatened Salem.
The firing took place in an open area near the jail mess. JD is an associate of Santosh Shetty, Vijay Shetty and Bharat Nepali. JD is currently facing several cases of extortion, murder and attempted murder.
Speaking to MiD-DAY, Additional CP (Navi Mumbai) Fatehsingh Patil said, “A fellow inmate had smuggled a gun into the prison. Just as Salem stepped out, he was fired at and sustained bullet injuries to his right hand and fingers.” Police are currently tight-lipped as to the identity of the would-be assassin.
He was fired at 4 times. One bullet hit him in the hand, the other three missed.
The extradited gangster, an accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, has reportedly been brought in to NMMC Hospital's trauma ward for treatment.
Salem was brought in at around 11 pm and his condition is said to be stable.
Sources from NMMC hospital Vashi, where Salem was admitted, informed that a pellet was present between the web of index and thumb of his right hand. Reportedly, Salem may be transferred to JJ hospital for further treatment.
Police investigations are likely to focus on how a gun was smuggled into the Central Jail. The shooter, whose identity is being withheld, is currently being questioned by police.
The Khargar police are busy conducting a panchanama within the confines of the jail.
The shooting could lead to diplomatic tension between Portugal and India, since Portugal had in March questioned the charges Salem was currently being tried under.
The terms of extradition state that Salem would not be charged with any offence punishable with the death penalty. It had also been agreed he'd not be kept behind bars for more than 25 years, as per European law. The terms also include a clause that states that Salem could return to Portugal if he's life is under threat.
However, the Delhi and Mumbai police have slapped several cases against Salem where the maximum punishment is death. A Portuguese court has already ‘cancelled’ his extradition.
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