With underworld don Abu Salem, one of the key accused in the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai, deciding to contest assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, the CBI is set to curtail his political ambitions by citing the prison term served by him in Portugal before his extradition to India.
Lodged in judicial custody since he was sent back from Lisbon on November 11, 2005 with his girl friend Monica Bedi, Salem has given indications about contesting the assembly elections scheduled for April or May.
Pre-empting his political aspirations, the CBI is set to write to the Home Ministry to prevent any such move by the underworld don as he was convicted in Portugal and served a prison term of over three years in Lisbon, agency sources said.
A draft had been finalised in which the CBI will draw the ministry's attention to the prison sentence served by Salem, they said.
The question whether Salem's conviction abroad can bar him from contesting polls needs a thorough discussion and the CBI is hoping that this starts soon rather than at a point when he gets his papers filed before the returning officer for his consituency, the sources said.
Under the law, no convicted person can contest elections. Salem's counsel Ashok Sarogi has formed the Rashtriya Samajwadi Party, through which his client could contest the assembly polls.
"We applied to the (Election Commission) to form the party in August last year and we have just received approval for the same. The party will provide a fresh outlook for people who are tired of existing parties," Sarogi said.
Satyendra Singh Yadav, a small-time Bollywood actor, has been chosen as the party's president while Sarogi will be its general secretary, the lawyer said.
The party, which has an "undisclosed number of members", will have a motorcycle as its symbol. It intends to contest at least 20 seats in the Uttar Pradesh assembly, including Salem's hometown of Mubarakpur.
Salem was extradited from Portugal with his girlfriend, Bollywood starlet Monica Bedi, in November 2005 for his alleged involvement in the Mumbai serial blasts.
The don, allegedly involved in extorting money from the film industry, is also accused of being linked to the murder of Ajit Dewani, the secretary of actress Manisha Koirala.