How the Pradeep Jain murder case was cracked

Abu Salem (in picture), along with Mehendi Hassan, has been convicted of terrorism under TADA.

Abu Salem (in picture), along with Mehendi Hassan, has been convicted of terrorism under TADA.  

The conviction of Abu Salem has brought a sense of closure to Inspector Sunil Mane who recounts how the police cracked the case.

Seven years after he first took over as the peharavi (liasion) officer in the sensational Pradeep Jain murder case, the conviction of gangster Abu Salem by the TADA court on Monday has brought a sense of closure to Inspector Sunil Mane of the Mumbai Police.

“In 2008 when I was with the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS), the then ATS chief Mr. KP Raghuvanshi handed over my appointment letter in the case. Salem had caught the media’s imagination and was extensively written about, so it was but natural to be inquisitive about him,” Mane told The Hindu.

Mane (42), currently with the crime branch unit of the Mumbai Police was elated after the court pronounced its verdict. “We had built a strong case against Salem. It is difficult to secure a conviction in a case involving an underworld don as many witnesses turn hostile and refuse to testify but we managed to present a strong case and bag the conviction,” Mr. Mane said, the pride in his eyes imminently visible.

“During the course of the trial, a frustrated Salem had once told me, tum tho mujhe pahucha kar chodo ge [You will ensure that I stand convicted],” he adds. “With an approver and a co-conspirator testifying in the court against the don, Salem’s fears were understandable” he said.

Jain was murdered in March, 1995. A few days after the murder, the crime branch got a tip off on few shooters planning to kill another businessman. The police managed to move in time and arrest them. During their interrogation the shooter spilled the beans on the murder case. The police then filed a case against them in which Abu Salem and Dawood’s brother Anees Ibrahim were shown as wanted accused.

Throwing light on the attitude of Salem, Mane recounted , “On the 13th day of Jain's death when a prayer meeting was held, Jyoti [Jain’s widow] got a call from Salem. He started the conversation with a creepy laughter and threatened the widow that her brother-in-law will also meet the same fate if they don’t pay the money.”

The Jain murder case was one of the eight cases for which Salem was extradited from Portugal in 2005. Elucidating some of the tactics which Salem employed to delay the trial, Mr. Mane states, “He tried his best to delay the trial. He went up to Supreme Court claiming that the trial was in breach of the treaty we had signed with Portugal as it was a murder and the maximum punishment under law for murder under Indian laws is death,” he points out.

“He had levelled allegations against me that I tutored the witnesses in the case. He claimed that I had visited the Arthur Road jail and instructed the witnesses on what to say in the court but we were able to prove it otherwise.”

Salem also challenged the ATS’s jurisdiction to probe the case. “He cited a GR stating that the agency was formed to investigate cases of extortion relating to terrorism but not underworld but we managed to even prove him wrong on that front,” he adds.

While Mane told The Hindu that he felt pressurised during the case but didn’t dwell upon the topic. “It becomes a part of your life when the accused is a gangster,” he chuckles.

On Tuesday, the court is going to hear the arguments on the quantum of sentence but Mr. Mane says he is still on the lookout for Sunil Nair, Salem’s gang member who is still on the run.



1993 Bombay serial bombings case, Mumbai

Trial yet to commence

Ajit Dewani murder case, Mumbai

Discharged  after trial

Pradeep Jain murder case, Mumbai

Convicted for murder, attempt to murder

Fake passport case, Hyderabad

Sentenced to seven years in jail

Fake passport case, Bhopal

Sentenced to four years in jail

Three extortion cases, Delhi

Under trial

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 11:10:57 AM |

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