TADA case against Salem: SC refuses to vacate stay



New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to vacate its stay on TADA proceedings against alleged gangster Abu Salem in view of the pendency of New Delhi's plea with the Portuguese Constitution Court against quashing of his extradition to India.

A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam, which had stayed the proceedings in two cases including that in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, asked the CBI to file affidavit giving details regarding the proceeding in the Portugal court.

Senior Advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the CBI, submitted that the Constitutional Court of Portugal has stayed the order of its high court which had quashed the extradition treaty with India.

The bench asked the agency to file its affidavit within four weeks and posted the matter for further hearing on April 23.

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.

The Delhi Police's action, which flew in the face of assurance given to Portugal, left the Union government and the CBI embarrassed. Later, the police sought to withdraw those charges, but the Delhi High Court as well the Supreme Court did not allow it.

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.

PTI