Kathmandu, March 10 (IANS) A former Nepali minister’s son, believed to be an associate of terror kingpin Dawood Ibrahim and arrested last year, was shot at inside Nepal’s most tightly guarded prison in Kathmandu in broad daylight Thursday.Yunus Ansari, son of former communist minister Salim Miyan Ansari, was shot inside Kathmandu’s Central jail around 11.30 a.m. at a time the jail was crawling with policemen, informers and people visiting prisoners.
Police said a man entered the prison premises posing as a visitor and in the course of conversation whipped out a revolver and shot at Ansari, who had been arrested after being caught with fake Indian currency and drugs sent from Pakistan.
The prison guards lunged at the shooter, deflecting his aim and resulting in Ansari receiving non-life-threatening injuries.
He was rushed to the Norvic hospital where he was declared out of danger.
The shooter was said to have been arrested by police. Preliminary reports said he had met another prisoner, who was part of an Indo-Nepal kidnap and extortion gang, and was handed over a firearm to shoot Ansari.
The attempt on Ansari comes a year after his associate, Nepali cable TV mogul Jamim Shah, was shot dead, also in broad daylight, on a public road in one of the most patrolled neighbourhoods in the capital.
Shah’s murderers were never found.
Ansari was also thought to have been on the hit list and his arrest providentally saved his life.
Ansari was arrested in January 2010 with fake Indian currency nominally worth Rs.2.5 million and nearly four kg of heroin that had been handed over to his bodyguard by a courier who had flown from Pakistan.
Though protesting his innocence, Ansari opted to stay in prison after Shah’s killing and rumours that the killers were also gunning for him.
His father Salim Miyan Ansari, a former forest minister, criticised India and Nepal’s police force as he rushed to the hospital where his son had been admitted.
The former communist minister said both agencies were hand in glove and had colluded in the attack on his son.
The shooting exposes the rampant corruption in Nepal’s police force and prisons.
While visitors are subjected to a stringent scrutiny and have to leave mobile phones and even pendrives outside, Yunus’ attacker managed to smuggle in a gun and bullets.
The same prison hit the headlines recently when it was found that some of the inmates were running extortion rackets from inside. One notorious prisoner was found to have gone to the coffee shop of a five-star hotel with police escort and was carrying almost NRS 800,000.
Ansari is also the owner of a private television station, National TV. So was Shah and the attempts on them have also been projected as attacks on the media.