Court Seeks Clarification on Abu Salem's Extradition

New Delhi
Court Seeks Clarification on Abu Salem's Extradition
A Delhi court has sought clarification from the CBI on extradition of underworld don Abu Salem from Portugal and deferred the hearing on the plea of Delhi Police seeking to drop MCOCA charges against him.

"CBI is directed to clarify its stand and file copy of the final order (of Portugal High Court), if any, by the next date of hearing," Additional Sessions Judge Pinki said.

A K Vali, appearing for the CBI Director, said the probe agency had no option but to agree to Portugal's insistence for Salem's extradition, instead of deportation, which put restrictions on the number of cases in which he could be tried and the quantum of sentence that could be awarded to him.

Earlier, the court had issued notice to the CBI Director seeking response on the police submission that "undue conditions" in lodging cases against Salem could have been avoided if the CBI would have got him deported instead of extraditing him.

Issuing production warrants for February 24 against Salem, who is presently lodged in Arthur Road jail in Mumbai, the court said "put up for compliance of orders passed today as well as for remaining arguments on the application."

"The CBI had been asked to verify from the record as to whether any attempt was made to pursue the matter with the government of Portugal to deport the accused to this country instead of estradition...No such report is on record," the court said.

It also asked the CBI to file copy of the order of the Portugal High Court where Salem had petitioned alleging that the Indian authorities have violated the extradition terms by filing cases under special statutes like the MCOCA.

Salem is facing MCOCA charges in connection with an extortion call made to city-based businessman Ashok Gupta in 2002 demanding Rs 5 crore as protection money.
The police had filed an application for dropping of charges against Salem under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes (MCOCA) Act on the ground that it was against the extradition conditions, agreed between the Centre and the Portuguese authorities.

The CBI, however, justified its decision on Salem's extradition saying he was holding a Pakistani passport and could have been deported to any country, either to Pakistan or the nation from where he illegally entered Portugal, after his arrest.

The then NDA government had given an executive assurance to Portugal that after Salem's extradition he would be tried only in nine cases and will not be awarded imprisonment exceeding 25 years.

In Portugal there is no death penalty, hence, it ensures that the persons detained there should not be deported to a country having provisions to award the extreme penalty, the CBI counsel had said.

Salem was extradited from Portugal in 2005 in three cases of CBI probing the Mumbai blasts, passport cases of Lucknow and Hyderabad, three extortion cases and a conspiracy to murder case in Delhi and Pradip Jain and Ajit Dewani murder cases in Mumbai.

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