The Opposition on Monday flayed the government for the privileged treatment accorded to 1993 blast accused Abu Salem and Mustafa Dossa in Mumbai's high-security Arthur Road jail. In a shocking incident on Saturday, Dossa had attacked Salem with a sharp spoon following an altercation.

Referring to the revelations made by Ramesh Bagwe, Minister of State (Home), to a newspaper, Eknath Khadse, Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly said, “Till the accused awaits the court's final decision, he [or she] is allowed his or her own food and clothes. Mr. Bagwe has made a statement that the toilet facilities in Salem's barrack were on par with those in five-star hotels. Moreover, there were posters of half-nude women. In Dossa's barrack the minister found fruit stock that could last a fortnight. What has happened to the jail manual? The description shames Maharashtra.”

Mr. Khadse also said that when Mr. Bagwe visited the jail, the authorities dissuaded him from inspecting the barracks saying Dossa and Salem were dangerous criminals. “This is a sign of weakness on the part of the police,” he pointed out.

Probe

In his reply, Home Minister R.R. Patil said a high-level probe would be initiated against the officers responsible and to find out if undue facilities were being provided to the accused. He said the prison authorities did not suspect that Salem and Dossa would clash, as they were from the same gang.

He invited the Opposition to join him on an inspection visit to Arthur Road. In light of the concerns raised over the prison's security, he assured the Opposition about the safety of Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab. “He [Kasab] is in a different barrack and security measures are in place,” he said.