Abu Salem to stay in India, rules SC
Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed gangster Abu Salem’s plea seeking quashing of trials against him in various cases after Portugal`s apex court terminated his extradition to India for "violation" of deportation rules by Indian authorities.
The apex court ruled that all charges imposed on him during the time of extradition will stay and he will continue to face trial in the 1993 Bombay blasts case.
The Supreme Court held that the verdict of Portugal court is "not binding" on courts here and Salem`s extradition to India is still "valid in the eyes of law".
However, SC agreed to withdraw certain cases of TADA and Explosive Substances Act against him after CBI`s submission that the agency is ready to drop charges under section 5 and 6 of TADA and sections 4(b) and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act against 4-year-old Salem as part of its commitment to the Portuguese government.
A bench had reserved the verdict on July 9 after CBI’s request in view of its commitment to Portuguese government at the time of his extradition that he shall not be awarded death penalty or detained in custody for more than 25 years if found guilty.
Attorney General GE Vahanwati had said government was committed to its assurance given to the Portuguese court and sought the apex court`s permission to drop the additional charges framed against Salem by the trial court.
The agency sought withdrawal of charges under section 5 and 6 of TADA and sections 4(b) and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act.
The Supreme Court had stayed the trial after Salem approached the apex court against the TADA court`s order of January 31, rejecting his plea for closure of his trial.
He had filed the application after the Portugal Supreme Court upheld the order of a lower court there, terminating his extradition for "violation" of deportation rules by Indian authorities.
At the time of Salem`s extradition, India had assured Portugal that no charges entailing death penalty or imprisonment of more than 25 years would be pressed against him, but such charges were later brought in.
Salem is currently lodged in Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai. Following the Portugal SC`s order, he had appealed to the TADA court, saying that the trial against him should be closed.
Salem then filed a petition in the high court at Lisbon, alleging violation of the Rule of Speciality. In the ruling on September 19 last year, the Lisbon court said there had been a breach of the undertaking given by India.
Salem and his then companion, actress Monica Bedi, were extradited to India on November 11, 2005, after a marathon legal process lasting three years.
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