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Was there a plot to kill Best Bakery accused

December 16, 2004 19:14 IST

Was there a conspiracy to poison the 17 people who are in Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai in connection with the Best Bakery case?

Depends on whom you ask.

"There was no any plot, no conspiracy, no attempt" in this regard, Deputy Inspector General, Prison, Rashmi Shukla told rediff.com

Her subordinate, Superintendent Swati Sathe, recently gave a contradictory statement.

On Tuesday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told the assembly that Sathe had informed Special Judge Abhay Thipsay -- who is hearing the case -- that gangster Dawood Ibrahim wanted to poison the accused to take revenge for those killed in the Best Bakery two years ago.

Asked about her subordinate's statement, Shukla said, "I am not aware, but what I told you is the real story."

"Sometime back, after the key witness in the case, Zaheera Sheikh, changed her statement, top jail officials had decided to shift the accused to a high security area of the jail for their safety. And somebody from the jail told the media that security was tightened because of some threat," a source told rediff.com

"Special measures were adopted for the safety of the accused a month back," Shukla said.

There is also another twist in the story. The police claim to have arrested two persons -- Sohail and Nasir -- found loitering outside the jail. They were carrying Rs 1.7 lakh in cash and some chits written in Urdu.

There was also a suspicious letter found in the jail, but she did not speak about it.

 

But the source said, "It was a letter written in Urdu and it had the name of Ejaz Pathan, who is in jail in connection with the 1993 serial blasts case."

 

The Times of India newspaper had published a report on Sunday saying that poison was smuggled into the jail on December 11.

 

The source said, "A lot of times police adopt special measures to ensure the safety of a person. We keep a watch on whatever we find suspicious. In this case, had we started checking the food that the accused were being provided, there would have been speculation that we had some inputs. We don't adopt such steps only after getting inputs. Sometimes we do it as a precautionary measure."
Vijay Singh in Mumbai