Abu Salem used poor, desperate youths as contract killers: Book

Abu Salem used poor, desperate youths as contract killers: Book

Underworld don Abu Salem, who after being extradited from Portugal is facing trial in several cases, including the 1993 serial blasts here, preferred low-investment and zero-risk youths to carry out contract killings, a new book has said.

Former journalist and writer S Hussain Zaidi has written an account of the don’s life in his book, “My Name is Abu Salem”.

Salem’s long list of crimes include supplying AK-47s to actor Sanjay Dutt, who is currently serving sentence, and the murder of music mogul Gulshan Kumar. He was once part of Dawood Ibrahim’s crime syndicate, D-company, but separated from it and started his own organisation. His infamous relationship with actor Monica Bedi and his close connection to Bollywood led to a number of attempted murders of the film industry’s biggest names.

After leaving the shores of Mumbai, Abu Salem Abdul Qayyum Ansari was never again known by his real name. He would use various fake identities for residential, business and travel purposes. But whenever he needed to spread terror and intimidate people for money, he would always return to his old greeting in Hindi: “This is Abu Salem speaking”.

“From his days as a smuggler, Salem had preferred businesses that required low investment and zero maintenance. He now came up with an unconventional idea that not only revolutionised the contract killing business in the city, but also threw a major challenge to the Mumbai Police,” Zaidi writes in the book.

Salem used to get in touch with his cousins and relatives back home in Sarai Mir and ask them to look for boys who were unemployed, keen on travelling to Mumbai, hungry to earn a decent wage without working too hard and had the guts to do anything that was asked of them.

He was well aware of the poverty and desperation in villages where even a daily earning of Rs 100 was regarded a substantial income. Also, these village boys were full of bravado and were willing to get violent at the slightest provocation. Most of them had also wielded country-made revolvers or handguns in skirmishes.

Gorakhpur Express

“Salem decided to import these desperadoes to Mumbai. Their job would entail shooting a victim from point-blank range and escaping immediately thereafter. He was then supposed to return the gun to the person who had given it to him and board the Gorakhpur Express  the next day. Salem promised a return railway ticket and a cash reward of Rs 5,000 for such jobs,” the book has said.

Even if these youths were arrested, Salem neither had to foot their legal bills nor did he have to financially support their families.

“I can get boys to kill anyone in Mumbai for a remuneration of just Rs 5,000. If they fail, I don’t lose anything. If they succeed, I get the job done for loose change,” Salem had apparently told his people in Dubai.

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