//Sage Valmiki inspires Salem, reads Ramayana in jail

Sage Valmiki inspires Salem, reads Ramayana in jail

Press Trust of India, Mumbai, January 29, 2006

Incarcerated gangster Abu Salem, facing charges in a string of cases here, has reportedly drawn inspiration from sage Valmiki and ordered a set of religious books, including Ramayana and Quran, for studying in jail, according to his lawyer Ashok Sarogi.

Sarogi said he had gone to jail yesterday to provide Salem with the copies of Ramayana and Quran and was asked to wait as the gangster was busy chanting "OM" mantra.

The lawyer said, later Salem told him that he was deeply inspired by "OM" mantra and wanted to know more about Hindu religion. When asked why, Salem replied that he had heard of sage Valmiki, a reformed dacoit, who wrote Ramayana, and wished to learn about his experiences.

Sarogi said perhaps Salem may be repenting for his sins and may be looking at Valmiki for inspiration.

Salem is facing two murder cases probed by Mumbai police. One pertains to murder of builder Pradeep Jain while the other concerns the killing of Ajit Dewani, former secretary to actress Manisha Koirala. The gangster is also facing charges in the 1993 bomb blast conspiracy.

He has already made a confession in 1993 bomb blast case before CBI and a magistrate, and demanded a copy of the same under the Rights to Information Act. The CBI has objected to it, saying it could not be given until the chargesheet was filed. The court would hear his plea on February 2 when he would be produced for remand.

On the same day, the court would also consider the plea of superintendent of central prison to shift Salem to some other jail as he faced threat to his life from rival gangsters.