A Portuguese court has terminated its government’s decision authorising the extradition of Abu Salem — a Dawood Ibrahim gang member who is currently on trial in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case — to India in 2005.
The CBI, on whose request Salem was extradited on November 11, 2005, has decided to challenge the order in Portugal’s supreme court through the external affairs ministry, an agency source said.
The high court order, delivered last Monday, was in response to a plea by Salem — lodged in Maharashtra’s Taloja prison — seeking cancellation of his extradition on the grounds that Indian authorities have violated the terms of the extradition treaty.
According to Salem, the Mumbai court hearing the blasts case violated the “principle of speciality as it is understood in the Portuguese legal system by illegally invoking stringent provisions of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act against him”, a CBI official said. The TADA provisions come with a punishment that is less than the death penalty but entails a jail term of or above 25 years (in accordance with the extradition terms), the official added.
“Salem had filed a petition in the high court of Lisbon... The high court has held that there has been violation of the rule of speciality,” the CBI official said.
Salem had moved a similar plea before the Supreme Court of India, which had rejected it on September 10 last year.
Salem and his girlfriend, actor Monica Bedi, were found living in Portugal under fake identities, having procured visas on fake Indian passports, said Mumbai Police senior inspector Sunil Deshmukh.
Salem was charged and put on trial in the blasts case. Among the charges are some that weren’t included in his extradition order, as framing of charges for lesser offences is permissible under the Extradition Act, 1962 (but their imposition on him was validated by the Indian apex court in its order last year), the officer said.