Court grants bail to gangster Abu Salem in extortion case

New Delhi: In a reprieve to extradited gangster Abu Salem, a court here has dismissed the plea of Delhi police seeking to invoke harsher penal provision against him and granted him bail in an extortion case lodged in 1998.

Salem, extradited from Portugal in 2005 to face trial in eight cases, including the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, was granted bail by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Rakesh Pandit in the case on furnishing of a personal and surety bond of Rs one lakh each.

"Salem shall not intimidate witnesses, shall not leave the country and shall not cause delay in the present case," the court said.

Police had initially charged Salem under section 384 (extortion) and 120-B (conspiracy) of the IPC, which provides for a maximum three-year jail term.

Later, police wanted to invoke section 387 (putting a person in fear of death in order to commit extortion) of the IPC against Salem which entails seven years jail as maximum punishment.

"The same are not applicable to the facts and circumstances of the case," the court said.

During the hearing, M S Khan, counsel for Salem, had opposed the plea saying other co-accused have not been charged under the harsher penal provision.