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No need to return Salem, Portugal tells India

delhi Updated: Oct 20, 2012 00:56 IST
Abhishek Sharan

In a breather for the CBI, Portugal has informed India that it is not required to return gangster and 1993 Mumbai blasts accused Abu Salem to that country though his extradition in November 2005 was confirmed as cancelled by its apex Constitutional Court three months ago.

"Portuguese authorities have informed India via diplomatic channels that our country is not required, or legally bound, to return Salem to them since Portuguese extradition laws do not make such an action mandatory even if his extradition was cancelled," said a home ministry source.

"According to Portuguese laws, even if there is a breach of Rule of Specialty in the case of an extradited accused, like in the case of Salem, he or she is not legally required to be returned to Portugal and the issues of discord should be settled via diplomatic methods. This is what Portugal has told us," said the source.

Portugal's high court in Lisbon had last September cancelled Salem's extradition citing there was an alleged breach of the Rule of Specialty, considering he had been charged for certain additional offences in Indian trial courts, a CBI source said.

Two Portuguese top courts - its Supreme Court in January and the Constitutional Court in July - had then upheld the Lisbon high court's order. The Constitutional Court had dismissed India's plea against the cancellation of Salem's extradition, saying "India has no locus standi and legitimacy to appeal the verdict", said the source.

The high court's order was in response to a plea by Salem, challenging his extradition.

"At the time of Salem's extradition, the then Indian deputy PM had assured Portugal that Salem would not be awarded death penalty and his detention would not exceed 25 years. None of these assurances have been violated," said the source.