New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday cleared the decks for the trial of gangster Abu Salem in 1993
Mumbai serial blasts case by allowing him to cross-examine the
witnesses who deposed against him when he was absconding.
Salem, who was extradited from Portugal in November
2005, had filed an application seeking separation of trial
contending that evidence recorded against him in his absence
cannot be taken into account.
CBI had approached the apex court challenging the TADA
court order, which had rejected the contention that the
evidences recorded against Salem in his absence was applicable
Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, appearing for
CBI, said there cannot be a fresh examination of witnesses as
600 persons had deposed as witnesses in serial blasts case
when Salem was absconding.
He said if the TADA court order was allowed to
continue, then there are 36 other accused who are absconding
in connection with the blasts case and for each of them
starting the trial afresh was not feasible.
The Solicitor General said CBI was ready to tender all
the relevant witnesses for cross-examination to Salem.
Following the statement by Subramanium, the gangster`s
counsel Rishi Malhotra gave his consent that he will identfy
the witnesses from the list for cross-examination.
"You are at liberty to find out the witnesses from the
list to cross-examined," a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G
Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan told
Malhotra and accepted his plea for expeditious trial.