Claiming that none of his relatives come to meet him in jail, gangster Abu Salem has written to prison authorities seeking permission to be transferred to a prison in Uttar Pradesh. Salem has said that he is a native of Azamgarh in UP and all his relatives are 50 years old or above.
“I am a permanent resident of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, where all my family members and relatives reside… understand my plight that none of my relatives come for my jail mulaqat (visit) as they stay in UP. Hence I will be highly grateful if I am allowed to be transferred to a prison there, where it will be easy and convenient for my family members to come and meet me and even to coordinate with me regarding my legal matters and to have contact with my lawyers,” Salem has said in his application sent to the prison authorities, including Additional Director General of Police, Inspector General of Police and Superintendent of Taloja jail, where he is currently lodged. Salem has said in his plea that he should be transferred to any jail in UP, including Varanasi, Lucknow, Allahabad or Azamgarh.
On September 7, a special court convicted and sentenced Salem to life imprisonment for his involvement in the Mumbai 1993 serial blasts case. Even as others convicted on that day, including Taher Merchant, Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan and Karimullah Khan, have been transferred to other central prisons in the state, Salem continues to remain lodged at Taloja in Navi Mumbai.
Before approaching the prison authorities, Salem had filed an application seeking a transfer to a prison in UP before the special Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court. The court had, however, disposed it off holding that the application was “infructuous”.
Salem is already serving a life imprisonment term in the murder case of city builder Pradeep Jain. However, with the Mumbai serial blasts case concluding, Salem has no case pending in Maharashtra. Salem has claimed in his application to the prison authorities that he has cases pending in Delhi, Lucknow, Bhopal and Hyderabad. He has claimed that it will be “convenient” for his production in these cases if he is lodged in a jail in UP.
Salem has further referred to the assurances made by the then Deputy Prime Minister, L K Advani, to Portugal in the extradition proceedings in 2005. During his prison stay in the city, Salem has faced multiple attacks, including being shot at.
“I do not have any enmity with any person there – the same being my native (Azamgarh) – as per my knowledge and belief I will be very safe there,” Salem has said. He has further claimed that the prison authorities should consider his application since there has been no complaints against him through his prison term so far. “The TADA court has granted me various facilities/relief including home food, table fan, dumb bells for exercise… I have not misused any of these (facilities),” Salem said in his plea. He has prayed that a report from prison authorities in Uttar Pradesh could be called for.
ADG (prisons) Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay said he was yet to receive the application.