SC grants two weeks to Centre to take stand on Abu Salem



New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday granted two weeks to the Centre to analyse the Portugal's court order terminating the extradition of Abu Salem to India and spell out its proposed action against the alleged gangster.

A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam, granted the time after Attorney General G E Vahanwati submitted that government needs time to go through the judgement as the order is in Portuguese language and has to be first translated in English.

The bench had earlier asked the CBI and the Ministry of External Affairs to file their replies to Salem's plea for quashing criminal cases against him after termination of his extradition and also asked Attorney General to assist it in deciding the case.

Salem, currently lodged in Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail, had filed the application after the Portugal Supreme Court upheld the order of a lower court there, terminating his extradition for alleged "violation" of the terms of his deportation by Indian authorities.

At the time of Salem's extradition, India had assured Portugal that no charges attracting death penalty or imprisonment of more than 25 years would be pressed against him, but such charges were later brought in.

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

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.

The apex court earlier on February 17 had stayed the TADA proceedings in two cases against the alleged gangster observing that the order of Portugal court terminating the extradition of Abu Salem to India has to be respected.

It, however, had refused to stay proceedings in other five cases and issued notices to the CBI and the Centre on Salem's plea to quash all criminal cases against him.

PTI