Underworld don Abu Salem was severely injured in an attack on Saturday by an estranged comrade and co-accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts inside the Arthur Road Jail, raising concerns about the safety of high-risk prisoners including 26/11 Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab.
"Salem was attacked by Mohammed Mustafa Dossa and his associate with a sharp spoon. Salem sustained injuries," Additional Police Commissioner Vineet Agrawal said.
A first information report against Dossa and his accomplice was registered under section 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and further probe was on, he said.
According to police sources, the two had a heated argument over supremacy in the underworld during breakfast following which Dossa took out a sharp spoon and along with an aide attacked Salem, injuring him seriously.
Salem, who received injuries on his head, neck and shoulders was profusely bleeding when the cops reached the spot near barrack No.10 where Salem and Dossa are housed along with scores of other prisoners.
Forty-two-year-old Salem, a key accused in the 1993 serial bomb blasts, has been lodged in the south Mumbai jail since his extradition from Portugal in 2005. He is facing trial in nine cases, including two murders.
The attack on Salem has left the authorities worried as Kasab, awarded death penalty by the anti-terror court three months ago in the 26/11 case, is lodged in the same jail.
The issue had its echo in the legislative assembly where leader of the opposition Eknath Khadse demanded that the government give details of the incident and inform the House about steps taken for ensuring the safety of prisoners as Kasab was also housed there.
Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said the government would make a detailed statement in the House after obtaining necessary information.
Later, Minister of State for Home Ramesh Bagwe reviewed security arrangements at the Arthur Road Jail with top prison authorities.
Dossa, an important member of the gang led by fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, the blast mastermind, was deported from Dubai in March 2003. Dossa was alleged to have supervised the landing of weapons and explosives in Maharashtra's Raigad district prior to the explosions on March 12, 1993, which left 257 people dead and 574 injured.
Besides the 1993 serial blasts, Salem and Dossa are facing trial in several other cases.
Meanwhile, Salem's lawyer Raja Thakur has said he would be shifted to hospital for treatment."We have got an order from the sessions court allowing my client to be admitted to the civic-run J J Hospital for treatment," Thakur said.