mid-day’s exposé on dreaded underworld don Abu Salem living it up on train journeys for court hearings to Delhi and Lucknow has given the police an opportunity to open their investigation, which had hit a wall, into reports of the gangster’s marriage with Mumbra resident Sayyed Bahaar Kausar.
Abu Salem and Sayyed Kausar
Following reports of the couple’s marriage in 2014, the Thane police had initiated a probe into the matter. They had tried to ascertain if Kausar had been in Salem’s vicinity - by triangulating her cellphone locations — whenever he had been on the move for case hearings.
But the investigation hit a dead end when Kausar claimed that her phone whose call records the police had dug up as part of their probe had been used by her maternal grandfather, who travelled with the don since he handled his paperwork.
Lack of evidence
Parambir Singh, commissioner of police, Thane said, "An inquiry was initiated by Dnyeshwar Fadtare, additional commissioner of police (administration), following an order by the MCOCA court on investigating the reports published by a newspaper in 2014. A report was sent to the court, stating that there was not enough evidence to prove the allegations of marriage. The findings were inconclusive. The officers also asked the court to prohibit the gangster’s movement outside the state and to conduct trials via video-conferencing, instead.”
The photographs with mid-day have now called Kausar’s bluff. In them, she is seen accompanying Salem on many of his train journeys for case hearings.
“Now with this development (the mid-day report), we will investigate the photographs to find out the truth,” said Singh.
10 probe teams
Around 10 Thane crime branch teams had been ordered to probe the claims of marriage following the order by the MCOCA court. “Investigation looked into the call records of Kausar and Salem’s advocate. Even CCTV camera footages from the railway stations that Salem had visited were pulled. The statements of Kausar’s relatives and friends and of Salem’s police escort team were taken,” said a senior officer who had been the primary investigating officer of the case.
Based on the call records of the number that the police thought was Kausar, the police traced the mobile phone to Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Lucknow and several places in Maharashtra on many occasions. “We found that the locations coincided with the regions Salem was travelling through,” said the officer.
Kausar was called in for questioning, but she claimed that her phone was being used by her maternal grandfather, Abdul Razzak Menon alias Bapu. Menon told the police that he used to travel with Salem since he handled his documents for a fee.
Two members of Salem’s escort team, Manohar Pawar, then inspector from Shanti Nagar police station, and M Karkar, then inspector from Kalwa police station, had told the investigating teams that the don and Kausar had never met during the train journeys. The photographs available with mid-day show otherwise. Pawar is now a senior inspector with Bhoiwada police in Bhiwandi, and Kalwa a senior inspector at Shrinagar police station.
The probe report was submitted before the MCOCA court on May 30, 2014.