The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from extradited gangster Abu Salem on a petition moved by Maharashtra government seeking continuation of stay on trial of a murder involving him till the court decides a matter related to an accused-turned-approver who turned hostile.
The state government has filed an application in the apex court challenging the order of the TADA Court in Mumbai rejecting its certificate to forfeit the pardon granted to an accused-turned-approver who had turned hostile in his testimony in the Pradeep Jain murder case. Immediately after the approver Riayaz Siddiqui, who was granted pardon for becoming approver in the case failed to support the prosecution theory, the Maharashtra government moved the apex court and secured stay on trial in the 1995 murder case.
After Siddiqui was declared a hostile witness, the prosecution moved the TADA Court to treat him as an accused to stand a separate trial for which a certificate forfeiting his pardon was issued by the state government. A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan issued notices to Salem and other accused -- Virender Jhamb and Mehndi Hassan -- on the application that till the order of the TADA Court rejecting the state government's plea on the certificate of pardon was decided, the stay on the trial in the murder case be continued.
The notice was also issued to Siddiqui and a reply has been sought within two weeks.
Jain, a city-based builder was shot dead on March 7, 1995, by assailants outside his Juhu residence after he refused to part with his huge property with Salem.