Abu Salem

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Abu Salem
Born Abu Salem Abdul Qayoom Ansari
Azamgarh district in Uttar Pradesh, India
Other names Aqil Ahmed Azmi, Captain, Abu Samaan
Occupation Leader of organized crime
Spouse(s) Samira Jumani 1991–?

Abu Salem (About this sound pronunciation  AH-boo sah-LEHM;[needs IPA], born Abu Salem Abdul Qayoom Ansari; also known as Aqil Ahmed Azmi, Captain and Abu Samaan, among others; is a gangster originally from Azamgarh district in Uttar Pradesh, India. He tried his hand on different labour works before joining organized criminal activities in Mumbai under Dawood gang. He was involved in several murder, extortion and other cases. He was later arrested in 2002 in Portugal and extradited to India. He was tried and convicted in some cases and was awarded life imprisonment in 2015.

Early life[edit]

Abu Salem was born in 1969 (according to the CBI; although the Mumbai police says, 1962; some reports suggests 1968) in a lower-middle-class family in Sarai Mir village of Azamgarh district, Uttar Pradesh. He was a second among four brothers. Though some reports maintain that he was the eldest of four brothers. His father was a lawyer by profession who was killed in a road accident. He started a small mechanic shop in his home town to support his family. He studied in a primary school and left the village after completing his inter college. He moved to Delhi, where he worked as a taxi driver. In 1985, he came to Mumbai to earn livelihood. He worked as a bread delivery boy between Bandra and Andheri; later worked at a garment shop in Andheri West in 1986. Later he became a real estate broker, operated from Arasa Market in Andheri West in 1987. In 1988, he assaulted a colleague over a monetary issue and the first case against him was registered at Andheri police station. In the meantime, he married Samira Jumani, a girl from Jogeshwari, from whom he divorced later. He has two sons from her. He loved film and reportedly named his sons after Bollywood actors. His elder brother Abu Hatim, also known as Chunchun miyan, owns a shop in his native village.[1]

Involvement in organized crime[edit]

Abu Salem started off by conning buyers with cheap electronic goods outside Andheri railway station. In the early 1990s, Salem stayed with his cousin Akthar, a small-time criminal working with gangster Sayyed Topi in Mumbai. Salem later shifted to Santa Cruz and started a travel agency. He got in touch with J K Ibrahim, who was working for Dawood. Through him, Salem came in the contact with Dawood gang.[2] In 1989, he handled a few land deals for Dawood Ibrahim gang, came in contact with Anees Ibrahim, Dawood's younger brother, over telephone. Anees offered him a job and he worked as a driver and transported arms. His proficiency at delivering goods at the right time and place earned him the nickname Abu Samaan. In 1990, he was recruited to oversee Dawood gang's (also known as D-Company) Mumbai operations.

In 1991, he was arrested by then additional commissioner of police A A Khan from his travel agency in Santacruz under charge of extortion. He was handed over to the D N Nagar police station in Andheri, northwest Mumbai, where Salem's in-laws had registered a case against him. But after spending two days in jail, he was released.[3] In 1992, he supplied weapons to film actor Sanjay Dutt. He played an active role in March 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts which killed over 250 people, left 700 injured and damaged property worth Rs 270 million. In 1993, he left the country and moved to Dubai when the police started rounding up suspects in serial blasts case. He had a business establishment there called Kings of Car Trading. He organised stage shows where he invited actors. He later took charge of the D-Company’s Bollywood deals. He was involved in extorting from the Hindi film industry, channelling illicit money into film production, forcibly getting the dates of stars, and usurping overseas rights. Salem first worked under Chhota Shakeel but later split and took to threatening film personalities for extortion.[4] In mid-1997, reportedly went to Pakistan to make arrangements for the marriage of Dawood's brother Humayun. Salem is believed to have murdered music baron Gulshan Kumar on 12 August 1997 without Dawood's consent, angering him. Salem fled Dubai, fearing Dawood's wrath.[2] He finally parted ways with Dawood after being sidelined in 1998. His friction with Shakeel and Dawood's favouring of Shakeel is believed to be the reason behind Salem's split from the D-Company.[5] In 2000, he planned kidnapping of Milton Plastics owner for ransom of Rs 30 million. In January 2001, his men shot Ajit Diwani, personal secretary to film actress Manisha Koirala. In October 2001, Four members of his gang shot down in Bandra before they could target film personalities Aamir Khan, Ashutosh Gowarikar and Jhamu Sughand. In July 2002, Two shooters of Salem gang opened fire on film director Lawrence D'souza who survived. He also attempted to kill cine figures Rajiv Rai, Rakesh Roshan and Manmohan Shetty.

Arrest, extradition and trial[edit]

He was convicted for the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, and murder of music baron Gulshan Kumar in 1997, Indian actress Manisha Koirala's secretary, a builder and more than 50 other cases.[6]

On 20 September 2002, he was arrested along with Monica Bedi by Interpol in Lisbon, Portugal. His satellite phone was tracked using GPS technology. Monica Bedi was a film actress who reportedly had relationship with him. In February 2004, a Portugal court cleared his extradition to India to face trial in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case. In November 2005, Portuguese authorities handed him over to India on the assurance by the Government of India that the death penalty would not be handed out. When Salem was in Lisbon fighting India's extradition attempt, the only proof that he was indeed Salem was provided by the fingerprint and photographs taken after his arrest in 1991. Monica Bedi was also extradited to India and later convicted of passport forgery in 2006 and served her imprisonment.

In March 2006, a special TADA court filed eight charges against him and his alleged associate Riaz Siddiqui for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. He stands accused of ferrying and distributing weapons.

A lower court in Portugal cancelled his extradition to India for violation of deportation rules by Indian authorities by instituting fresh cases against him which attracted death penalty. In July 2012, the Portuguese Supreme Court of Justice questioned the legal right of Indian authorities to challenge the cancellation of extradition order.

On 27 June 2013, Salem was shot by Devendra Jagtap, an accused in the advocate Shahid Azmi murder case inside Taloja Central Jail in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, the police said. Salem sustained injury to his hand as Jagtap fired one round.

Abu Salem was convicted in Pradeep Jain murder case on 16 February 2015. Jain, a city-based builder, was shot dead outside his Juhu bungalow on March 7, 1995. Nameem Khan, an accused in the case had turned approver. Riyaz Siddiqui, another accused in the case had turned approver then retracted and is being tried separately.[7] He was sentenced life imprisonment in Pradeep Jain murder case on 25 February 2015.[8]

Abu Salem is currently incarcerated in high-security Arthur Jail in India.

Music Debut[edit]

In August 2013, Punjabi Singer Sukhwinder Singh Maan alias Sukha Delhi wala revealed that he would release a song composed by Abu Salem while lodged in Tihar Jail, in his next Music Album. The Music Album shall also feature many other celebrities like Rahul Mahajan and Vindu Dara Singh.[9]

Net worth[edit]

Abu Salem is said to be a billionaire gangster worth Rs. 40 billion (Approx $0.67 billion).[10] The man's cash and property have been valued at least Rs 10 billion, which is divided between him and his wife, Samira Jumani. While Salem stakes a claim to Rs 2 billion, his wife possess Rs 8 billion in cash and property. Salem's investments in Bollywood and hawala rackets are estimated to be at least another Rs 30 billion. The CBI arrived at the figures on the basis of one-years transactions (2000–2001), and are said to be a conservative estimate.[11]

Salem possessed a non-immigrant work visa in the US, where he was employed as a maintenance manager for a marine engineering company. As he operated under different names, he could buy property worth crores, despite his employment background. Preliminary calculations by the CBI reveal transactions worth Rs 2 billion were carried out by Salem in the year 2000 itself. Details of his earlier transactions were not known as his whereabouts are not known. Police sources say that his benami but legal businesses in the Middle East are run by his close associates.[11]

Personal life[edit]

He is fair complexion, heighted 5'4", medium built. He speaks Urdu, Hindi, Marathi. He reportedly had 12 passports.

He married Samira Jumani, a college girl and a 17 years old minor in 1991[12] from whom he has one or two sons. They later divorced.[13] Samira currently lives in Duluth, Georgia, United States. She told that later into interviews that Salem was a "violent psychotic man" and she was forced into marriage.[13][14]

He reportedly had relationship with actress Monica Bedi who was arrested along with him in Portugal in 2002.


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