Portugal HC revokes don Abu Salem’s extradition
New Delhi: In an untoward development, the Portugal High Court on Tuesday revoked the extradition of underworld don Abu Salem accusing Indian probe agencies of violating the
conditions under which he was permitted to be taken to India in November 2005 to face trial in eight cases including 1993 Mumbai blasts.
At the time of Salem`s extradition six years ago, India government had given an assurance to Portugal that he would not be given death penalty or charged with any section of law which entails jail for more than 25 years.
"An order was passed quashing the extradition of Salem to India on the grounds that the Indian government had violated the extradition conditions," the 1993 Mumbai blast accused`s counsel Arvind Kumar Shukla told agency here.
Salem`s counsel had approached the Portuguese High Court after the Supreme Court dismissed his plea last year and upheld the a designated TADA court`s decision to frame additional charges against Salem for 1993 Mumbai blasts in addition to the other grave charges for which he was extradited by Portugal government to face trial in India.
Salem`s counsel in Mumbai Sudeep Passbola also said the "Portugal High Court terminated the extradition" and that he was awaiting the orders.
If India fails to convince the Portuguese judiciary, Salem may have to be sent back to a jail in Lisbon.
Sources in the government said New Delhi will be approaching the Portuguese Supreme Court challenging the order.
It should be noted that underworld don is convicted in 1993 Mumbai serial bombings and killing of India`s music baron Gulshan Kumar in 1997.
He and his girl-friend-companion, actress Monica Bedi were arrested by Interpol in Lisbon, Portugal on September 20, 2002. His satellite phone was tracked using GPS technology.
Bollywood starlet Bedi, however, faces trial in connection with two cases of forgery of passport in Bhopal and Hyderabad. She had travelled on forged documents to stay with Salem in Lisbon in the last few years.
The underworld don had been extradited to India in eight cases which included the serial blasts, two cases of forgery of passports from Lucknow, three cases of extortion in Delhi and two murder cases in Mumbai which included murder of Ajit Dewani, secretary of Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala.
Government had in 2003 given the assurance that Salem won`t be given death penalty after Portugal refused to entertain India`s request as its law held that no person could be extradited to any such country where capital punishment was also a mode of punishment.
Salem was the first successful extradition from any European country to India involving a person accused of committing henious crimes.
The extradition of Salem, who served 39 months in a Lisbon prison for entering Portugal on a forged document, came close on the heels of a constitutional court of that country turning down his appeal against the extradition order of Supreme Court.
In March 2006, a special TADA court filed eight charges against him and his alleged associate Riaz Siddiqui for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.
Salem is currently lodged in high-security Arthur Jail in India.
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