A TADA court rubbished the claims of Inspector General (Prisons) Meeran Borwankar about possible jail break and Naxal attack as a reason to transfer gangster Abu Salem from Taloja Central Prisons to Thane jail. The designated court termed the reasons “unfathomable”.
In a recent 26-page order on a petition filed by Salem against him being shifted to Thane jail, TADA court judge G A Sanap came down heavily on the jail authorities for not providing adequate security cover to the gangster and for causing troubles to the court, leading to an unwarranted delay in the trial.
Salem was extradited from Portugal in 2003 and is currently facing trial in the 1993 serial blast case. The court has already concluded trial against 127 others.
Learning from his “sources” about the transfer, Salem had moved the TADA court in November last year stating that he feared for his life in Thane jail as his rival gang members were also lodged there. In his complaint, Salem had also stated that at Taloja prison, he was made to stay in solitary confinement — a violation of the prisoners’ rights.
Though the court had directed the CBI to inform the jail authorities to not shift Salem until a final order was passed, the jail superintendent moved him out three days later. When the court sought a reply from the jail authorities, they claimed that Salem was shifted following a confidential input from the ATS. The report, submitted to the TADA court claimed that Naxals lodged at Taloja jail were planning a jail break for which they might resort to an armed attack.
Sanap observed, “Even if this intelligence input is accepted as a gospel truth, then in my opinion, there was no threat to the life of the accused.” Terming the nature of the intelligence input as generic, the court further added, “If this input was appreciated in a proper perspective, it would have given a wake up call to the jail authorities to beef up security, inside and outside Taloja prison.”
The TADA court observed that keeping an extradited person in solitary confinement belittles the country in front of other countries and judicial forums. “I have made all the efforts to put the trial on track… In such a difficult situation, instead of extending a helping hand, the jail administration has been causing immense problems and hurdles in my way by resorting to such actions,” the judge observed.