A convict in the 1993 Mumbai blasts, Mohammed Farook Mohammed Yusuf Pawale (50) of Mumbai, who was lodged at the Yerawada Central Jail, died at the jail hospital late on Tuesday evening.
Pawale was convicted in 2006 by the designated TADA court and awarded death penalty for his involvement in the bomb blasts at the Air India building and near Shiv Sena Bhavan on March 12, 1993, which left 24 persons dead. But the Supreme Court had commuted his death sentence to life term in March 2013. He was serving his sentence at the Pune jail.
He was allegedly a close aide of Tiger Memon, a prime accused who is still absconding in the case. According to jail superintendent Yogesh Desai, Pawale was suffering from pulmonary hypertension. He complained of illness on August 21, after which he was admitted to the jail hospital.
On August 22, he was shifted to Sassoon hospital and discharged on August 31, only to be kept at the Yerawada jail hospital for a day.
However, on Tuesday evening, he complained of breathlessness while talking to other jail inmates and collapsed. He was rushed to the jail hospital where he was pronounced dead by the doctors. His body was then sent to Sassoon hospital for a postmortem. His body was handed over to his family members who reached Pune from Mumbai on Wednesday.
Pawle’s family has blamed the Yerawada jail authorities for his death. In a letter addressed to the Inspector General of Prison on August 28, the family, through their lawyer Farhana Shah, had sought urgent medical care for him. “The family was kept in the dark for several days. As a matter of formality, the Mahim police (Mumbai) came and informed them that he has taken ‘slightly’ ill. It was later found out that his condition was very serious,” said Shah.
In the letter, Pawle’s wife Shabnam claimed that she visited Sassoon hospital on August 24 but was denied permission to see her husband.
“It was only after she complained to the IG (Prisons) that she was allowed to meet her husband, but for only 5 minutes,” she said.
According to Shabnam, her husband was handcuffed during his stay in the hospital. The family has now decided to move the High Court against the jail authorities. “The family had been trying to meet him (Pawle) for one week. The prison authority not only refused to reply