Mumbai : The Maharashtra police have suspended four policemen posted at the Taloja prison for their alleged laxity, which enabled accused Devendra Baburao Jagtap to smuggle in a weapon with which he shot at his jail mate Abu Salem.
Additional DG (prisons) Meeran Borwankar, while speaking to journalists outside the jail, said that they have initiated an inquiry and will be “reviewing” the security of all high security inmates in prisons across the state.
A jailer and three constables have been suspended pending an inquiry into the attack on Salem. The suspended cops have been identified as jailer Sanjay Sable, constables Chandrakant Pathare, Nitin Sawant and Gitesh Randive.
“Henceforth if any such incident takes place in any state prison, the superintendent will be directly held responsible. The Taloja gate security was breached and Jagtap went straight to Abu Salem’s jail cell on Thursday evening. He was returning from the Mumbai Sessions court after a hearing. We are almost sure that this is where he must have got the firearm from an accomplice. I have personally gone and reviewed the security and examined the spot where the attack took place,” she said.
Devendra Baburao Jagtap, alias JD, had met his wife and a few other relatives at the Mumbai sessions court on Thursday evening, after which he was brought back to jail.
He headed to Salem’s ‘anda’ cell at around 8 PM where he fired three rounds. He missed the first round and the other hit Salem between the thumb and the index finger on the right hand.
Jagtap has allegedly told the cops that the country revolver was handed over to him by an associate who came to visit him at the prison a few days ago. He has also allegedly claimed that he shot at Salem after an altercation between the two over an extortion business they allegedly run from inside the jail.
State’s Home Minister R R Patil said. “Responsibility for the incident will be fixed and stringent action, including dismissal from service, will be taken against those found guilty.”
A case of attempt to murder under the IPC and illegal possession of weapons under the Arms Act was registered at the Kharghar police station. The case has been transferred to the Navi Mumbai police crime branch, which is hoping to get JD’s custody by Saturday.
Meanwhile, the gangster’s lawyer, Saba Qureshi, is planning to approach Portugal’s government to seek Abu Salem’s repatriation from India.
“One of the conditions of Salem’s extradition was that he would be protected. This condition has been violated after the attack on him inside the jail,’’ Qureshi told mediapersons.
Salem had been extradited to India from Portugal after a long legal battle in November 2005.
Incidentally, Salem’s injury is minor, despite his attacker being a known sharpshooter, and police sources say they do not rule out the possibility that the attack could have been staged.