The prosecution on Tuesday sought capital punishment for extradited gangster Abu Salem and his associate Mehendi Hassan for their role in the murder of builder Pradeep Jain in 1995. The move is in violation of the treaty signed by the Indian government during Salem’s extradition from Portugal.
In December 2002, the Government of India submitted a request for Salem’s extradition in nine criminal cases. India gave an undertaking to the Government of Portugal that if extradited, Salem will not be given death penalty or imprisonment for a term beyond 25 years.
The Supreme Court had, in 2002, granted life imprisonment to the shooters by holding the case does not fall in the “rarest of rare” category. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, however, sought death penalty for Salem in the special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court in the city, by describing the case “rarest of rare”. Nikam also sought seven-year imprisonment for 86-year-old builder Virendrakumar Biharilal Jhamb.
Nikam said, “The accused person not only killed Pradeep Jain, but also enjoyed Jains killing…this amounts to cruelty and shows total disregard for human life..to curb this, a sentence that would act as a deterrent needs to be awarded.”
Nikam referred to Salem as contract killer, merchant of death and captain of the ship of the underworld in his argument while seeking capital punishment for him. “Salem has a Talibani mindset, as he wanted to kill the entire Jain family,” Nikam argued.
Salem’s advocate Sudeep Pasbola said the prosecution had failed to point out the facts before the court. “The prosecution should not have demanded capital punishment, as it is in violation of the treaty with the Portugal government under which Salem was handed over to India. By demanding this, the prosecution has made European countries a safe home for criminals, as no European country will now allow extradition of criminals to India,” Pasbola said.
Pasbola will continue the arguments on Wednesday.