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SC validates extradition of Abu Salem

The Supreme Court today allowed CBI to withdraw the prosecution of mafia don Abu Salem under the provisions of criminal law that attracts death penalty. The court ruled out his return to Portugal.

delhi Updated: Aug 06, 2013 03:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

The Supreme Court on Monday held that extradition of alleged gangster Abu Salem, 45, to India was valid despite Portugal’s constitutional court terminating it.

The verdict paved the way for restart of trial of all the cases including the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case against Salem.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam, vacated the stay on the trial proceedings against Salem and also allowed the CBI to drop additional charges slapped on him under TADA and Explosive Substances Act after his extradition.

The top court held the verdict by Portugal’s highest court was not binding and dismissed Salem’s plea for quashing of all proceedings against him after termination of his extradition to India.

It asked the Centre to approach an international forum to settle the divergent views or reconcile via diplomatic channels.

“Both India and Portugal are two sovereign States with efficient and independent judicial system. As a consequence, in unequivocal terms, the verdict by the constitutional court of Portugal is not binding on this court, but only has a persuasive value,” the bench said.

Salem had sought closure of trial against him in India after the Portugal Supreme Court upheld the order of a lower court terminating his extradition for “violation” of deportation rules by Indian authorities.

At the time of Salem’s extradition, India had assured Portugal that he would not be charged with offences entailing death penalty or imprisonment of more than 25 years.

The Supreme Court had stayed Salem’s trial after he approached the apex court against the TADA court’s order of January 31, rejecting his plea for closure of his trial.