India has no locus standi in Salem case: Portugal court

Portugal`s top court has questioned its locus standi in challenging the order cancelling extradition of underworld don Abu Salem to this country.

Updated: Jul 11, 2012, 00:35 AM IST

New Delhi: Rejecting India`s plea, Portugal`s top court has questioned its locus standi in challenging the order cancelling extradition of underworld don Abu Salem to this country.

Salem, who is accused in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case which left 250 dead, was extradited on November 11, 2005 from Portugal where he was arrested in 2002, along with his girl friend Monica Bedi.

Agency sources said while it will examine legal remedies, there is little possibility of Salem being sent back.

In its recent order, the Constitutional Court of Portugal said that India could not suo moto approach the top court challenging its Supreme Court`s order earlier this year.

The Portugal Supreme Court had upheld a lower court order cancelling the extradition of Salem for violation of deportation rules by Indian authorities on the grounds that new charges were slapped against him which attracted death penalty.

"The court order is being examined and other available legal options are being explored," CBI spokesperson said in a statement.

"Apart from the ongoing trial in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, investigated by the CBI, Abu Salem is an accused in several other heinous offences by other law enforcement agencies across the country, which are under various stages of trial," it said.

The spokesperson said in its legal interpretation of the Salem extradition matter, the Constitutional Court has turned down India`s plea to appeal on grounds that it does not have locus standi or legitimacy.
India had moved to the Constitutional Court and appealed against the order besides annexing the order of February 17, 2011 of Supreme Court of India whereby stay on trial for all fresh cases, which invoked a death penalty or jail for 25 years, was ordered.=

India had given an executive assurance to Portugal that
it would not slap any charge which invoke death penalty to Salem and would not keep him behind bars for more than 25 years, a key requirement in extradition proceedings in Europe.

Delhi and Mumbai Police, however, had slapped charges which invoke death penalty against him leaving the government and the CBI red-faced.

Later police wanted to withdraw the charges but the courts did not approve of it that led to a protracted legal battle which ended in Supreme Court in September 2010 that rejected the underworld don`s plea.

Salem had filed a petition in the High Court in Lisbon alleging violation of Rule of Speciality after which a judgement was pronounced on September 19, last year, saying there had been breach of the Indian undertaking given to the Portuguese authorities.

The CBI, through the Indian Mission in Lisbon, had countered the plea by claiming that the issue of `violation of Rule of Speciality` has been examined at length by the Supreme Court of India on similar petitions filed by Salem in India.
The Indian Supreme Court had in its order dated September 10, 2010 held that there has been no violation of Rule of Speciality after examining the issues pertaining to it with reference to and in comparison with extradition laws of the UK, the US and Portugal.

However, the Portugal Supreme Court rejected the petition and upheld the order of the lower court.

Salem was also wanted in various cases including the murder of noted film producer Gulshan Kumar.