India loses appeal; Salem headed back to Portugal?

In a major embarrassment for India, Portugal SC Tuesday dismissed its appeal challenging the termination of extradition of underworld don Abu Salem.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi/Lisbon: In a major embarrassment for India, the Supreme Court of Portugal on Tuesday dismissed an appeal of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging termination of extradition of underworld don Abu Salem.

The High Court of Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon had in September last year terminated the extradition of gangster Abu Salem, who is an accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, for breach of agreement by India by slapping charges which attract death penalty.

India had approached Portugal`s Supreme Court challenging the High Court order in October.

However, with the European nation’s apex court now dismissing CBI’s appeal Abu Salem may have to go back to Portugal now.

The CBI, meanwhile, is reported to have decided to appeal against the SC’s decision in Portugal’s Constitutional Court.

India, in its appeal before the Portuguese SC, has said the interpretation of the High Court of the trial in various courts of the country was not correct.

In its affidavit, India had assured that the fresh charges levelled against Salem attracted less jail term than the offences for which he had been extradited.

Salem, who was extradited from Portugal in November 2005, was charged with MCOCA for allegedly making extortion calls to Delhi-based businessman Ashok Gupta in 2002, demanding Rs 5 crore as protection money.

The Lisbon HC had said that in view of the new charges against Salem which entail death penalty, the authorisation granted for his extradition has been terminated as it violated the principle of speciality.

India had given an `executive assurance` to Portugal that Salem would not be given death penalty or charged with any section of law which entails jail for more than 25 years, once he is extradited.