Mumbai Underground: Law ‘for’ criminals

His partner, however, quipped that his efforts to study seemed to have come a little late in his life.

| Mumbai | Published: August 17, 2015 3:23:05 am
A man walks past a poster of former President, the late APJ Abdul Kalam, in Andheri. Amit Chakravarty A man walks past a poster of former President, the late APJ Abdul Kalam, in Andheri. Amit Chakravarty

The detention of criminals in prisons is supposed to have a reformative effect on those who are behind bars. But prolonged detention and never-ending cases seem to have had the undesired effect of making many criminals experts in criminal law.

While packing themselves in an overcrowded lift in the Mumbai sessions court building, two lawyers were discussing the increasing proficiency of underworld don Abu Salem in criminal law. “He can give many lawyers a run for their money. He is intently studying criminal law. Ardha vakil jhala ahe to (he has almost become a lawyer),” said a lawyer. His partner, however, quipped that his efforts to study seemed to have come a little late in his life. “If he had shown the same intent to study early in his life, he would have been someone else and not spent time here in jail,” said the other lawyer.

Courtroom drama

There was an unexpected intervention at Dindoshi sessions court during the Thursday afternoon hearing of the anticipatory bail application filed by godwoman Radhe Maa, whose real name is Sukhivinder Kaur. During the interval, when lawyers representing Kaur and petitioner Nikki Gupta were trading charges, Gorai resident and ‘Dharm Rakshak Mahamanch’ president Ramesh Joshi addressed Sessions Judge V A Raut.

Gesticulating animatedly, Joshi, who had not filed a formal written application, opposed Kaur’s bail application. “We have to expose her bhayanak (terrible) asli chehra (real face). We have to know whether or not she is an ISI agent,” Joshi said, before being told sternly by the judge to file a written application.

Wrong address

Writer Salim Khan knows how to use his words well. At an event recently, he shared the stage with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and indirectly hinted at the ruckus created by Shiv Sena after his son and actor Salman Khan’s tweets on Yakub Memon. “I am originally from Afghanistan. Just mentioning this so that the next time there is a protest outside my house, instead of chanting slogans like ‘Pakistan jao wapas (go back to Pakistan)’, the protestors can now say ‘Afghanistan jao (go to Afghanistan)’,” the veteran film writer joked. His jest not only led to an applause, it also made Fadnavis laugh. The subtle message was conveyed.

Time for damage control

Did NCP political managers make a mistake by highlighting how Sharad Pawar took to streets to lead a morcha after 35 years? A senior state leader (NCP) said, “In their effort to make it sound historic, they have portrayed a negative image about Pawar senior whose connect with the farmers is unquestionable.” Last week, NCP officials kept harping how Pawar’s three-day drought tour leading the “morcha” at Osmanabad on August 14 was historic and undertaken after three decades. While partly it may be true, it has given anti-NCP parties a weapon to criticise.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said, “What can be said about a leader who woke to farmers’ crisis after 35 years?” Where was Pawar all these years?” Some in the BJP and the Congress were also privately taking jibes, wondering, “Why did Pawar fail to undertake a tour to Vidarbha, which had maximum farmer suicides between 1999 and 2008?” Wonder how NCP will do the damage control!

Doctors’ dilemma

It was a full hour of confusion for doctors when a national conference of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) was called recently, involving various cities. It was a video conference connecting over six states’ IMA branches, with hundreds of doctors packed in the auditoriums of every state branch. In Mumbai, the conference was held at Juhu IMA office. Since every state representative had something to say, the result was a confusing video-conference, where overlapping voices aired opinion on doctors’ condition in India. None seemed to have understood what the other said after the hour-long video call ended. “Well, it is progress towards digital India, like our Prime Minister wants. We are learning to use the technology,” a senior doctor smiled. The concept is surely going to be tried again, but with a moderator this time round.

Couple issues

During an informal discussion with journalists a couple of days before the Independence Day, a senior police officer was talking about the measures being taken to ensure maximum security in the city. A routine measure before such occasions is to check hotels and lodges for any suspicious people staying there. However, with the recent raids at a Madh Island lodge still fresh in everyone’s memory, including the police, carrying out checks in hotels and lodges was not going to be easy. When the journalists asked the officer if hotels and lodges were being checked, he replied , “Yes, but we are leaving the couples alone.” Everyone, including the officer, laughed heartily at the instinctive response.

Sincere plea

After inaugurating Mumbai’s first 90-metre snorkel Sunday, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta had a request for Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, the chief guest at the event held at the Byculla fire headquarters. Mehta said, “I want you (Thackeray) to wish for only one thing sir, that Mumbai should never see a day when we will have to use this 90-metre ladder.” Following the commissioner’s speech, Mumbai Mayor Snehal Ambekar echoed similar sentiments. Jolted by three major fires in a span of a few months, in which it lost four senior fire officials, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is looking at a major overhaul of the fire department.

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