‘How did Salem’s early days slip past Mumbai cops?’

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 27 Februari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The special TADA (P) judge who convicted extradited gangster Abu Salem in the 1995 murder of builder Pradeep Jain, has lamented the inability of the city's "committed police force" to curb underworld dons and terrorist gangs. Special Judge G A Sanap made the comments in the 499-page judgement copy reasoning Salem's conviction and sentencing to life on Wednesday.

Referring to Salem, an Azamgarh native, the judge said, "A village boy from Uttar Pradesh came with his apparels to Mumbai with a hope to earn his livelihood, grew to such a stature and it went unnoticed by the Mumbai Police force, which draws comparisons with the Scotland Yard Police is unfathomable, mind boggling and very disturbing..." the judge noted.

One of the key witnesses in the case was accused-turned-approver Naeem Khan who was Salem's conduit. Referring to the defence's query as to why he did not surrender before Salem's arrest in 2005, the judge pointed to Khan's statement where he expressed his inability as until then the don was still at large. "The witness has deposed that he had started repenting over the crime after the murder. He had deposed that the reasons for his repentance were that by meeting Pradeep Jain, he had become close to him and secondly he had not expected the episode would end in his death," the judge said.

The judge said facts would suggest that Salem's decision to confess was due to sheer remorse, repentance and contrition. "A hardened criminal is not a demon..." the judge said.

The judge also alluded to a "brave decision" made by the preceding judge who, despite receiving flak, enquired with Salem in chamber about his advocate's allegations that he was being tortured. The TADA judge said despite being provided such a free and comfortable enviroment, Salem denied any such grievance against the police. "He could not have missed an opportunity to ventilate his grievance against the ATS officers."

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