Bombay HC Justice Neela Gokhale Recuses Herself From Abu Salem's Plea Against Transfer From Taloja Jail

Bombay HC Justice Neela Gokhale Recuses Herself From Abu Salem's Plea Against Transfer From Taloja Jail

On Wednesday, Salem’s plea was listed before a bench of Justices Ajey Gadkari and Neela Gokhale. When the matter was called out for hearing, Justice Gokhale said, “Not before me”. The plea will now be placed before another bench for hearing.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, July 03, 2024, 09:51 PM IST
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Gangster and 1993 bomb blasts accused Abu Salem | PTI

Mumbai: Justice Neela Gokhale of the Bombay High Court on Thursday recused herself from hearing the petition filed by gangster Abu Salem challenging the decision of the prison authorities to shift him out of Taloja Central Prison to the Nashik Central Prison, citing a threat to his life. He approached the HC after the Special TADA court rejected his plea last week.

On Wednesday, Salem’s plea was listed before a bench of Justices Ajey Gadkari and Neela Gokhale. When the matter was called out for hearing, Justice Gokhale said, “Not before me”. The plea will now be placed before another bench for hearing.

Salem had approached the HC after the Special court for Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) rejected his plea observing that there was no malafide intention in the decision to transfer him to Nashik jail. The Special court also said that Salem’s claims that there is threat to his life in any prison other than Taloja jail self-contradictory.

The special cell in Taloja jail where Salem is lodged is to go under repairs and the prison authorities plan to transfer him to Nashik jail. He challenged this transfer claiming that there is threat to his life from rival gangs in other jails. Salem has cited two attacks on him; one at Arthur Road jail by Mustafa Dosa (now deceased) who was a co-accused in the 1993 blast, and another by Devendra Jagtap at the instance of Dosa in Taloja jail.

Further, Salem has claimed that he has two cases pending against him in Delhi where trials are going on for which he has to travel regularly. His plea contended that if he was shifted to another prison, then his travels to Delhi might suffer, which in turn could delay the trials.

The prison authorities have claimed before the Special Court that the high security prison inside Taloja where Salem is lodged is in shambles and is in urgent need of repair. And so it is only for this reason that Salem was being shifted.

The gangster has, however, contended that he could instead be shifted to any other barrack or safe place inside the Taloja Central prison, as it is "very spacious" and arrangements for the same can be made.

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