New Delhi: A city court on Wednesday accepted
extradited gangster Abu Salem`s plea against conducting his
trial through video conferencing in a case of alleged
extortion following a U-turn by Delhi Police but rejected his
The idea to conduct trial in the case against Salem was
earlier floated by the court itself. Delhi Police, which had
then strongly backed it citing security threat to the accused
in shuttling him between Mumbai and Delhi, made volte-face
stating that it was not required at this stage.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja, taking into
account the submission by the police, allowed Salem`s plea who
had opposed any trial through video conferencing alleging it
was a ploy to delay the matter and would further affect his
right to fair defence if implemented.
"During the course of argument for conducting trial, it
is submitted by the prosecution (Delhi Police) that the state
does not want to press video-conferencing at this stage. So,
the plea of the accused (Salem) is allowed," the court said,
fixing October 13 as the date for recording evidence.
Meanwhile, the court dismissed Salem`s plea for bail on
the ground that he had completed more than half of the maximum
seven-year jail term prescribed under the statute for the
offence of extortion.
Salem, extradited from Portugal in 2005, is being tried
along with three others Ishtiya Ahmed, C P Rai and Sadiq Ali
for allegedly making threat calls to businessmen Puneet Khanna
and Rajat Nagrath, owner of Delhi-based Allied Communications,
demanding Rs one crore in 2002.