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Salem trial to go on: court

A special TADA court in Mumbai today rejected the application of gangster Abu Salem, seeking closure of his trial, after the CBI said it had challenged the order of Portugal Supreme Court, which had terminated his extradition to India in that country's constitutional court.

mumbai Updated: Feb 01, 2012 00:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

A special court constituted under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act that is trying gangster Abu Salem’s for his role in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case on Tuesday rejected his plea seeking closure of the trial on the grounds that the Portuguese Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s decision that India has violated the extradition treaty by slapping new charges against him which attract the death penalty.

Salem, a key accused in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case, was extradited to India along with actor Monica Bedi on November 11, 2005, after a marathon legal process in Portugal lasting three years.

The special TADA court rejected the plea after the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), India's nodal agency for extradition cases, informed it that the government of India has already challenged the verdict of the supreme court of Portugal before Portugal's Constitutional Court.

Salem had moved an application before the designated TADA court on January 17 seeking closure of the ongoing trial against him after the Portugal apex court’s verdict the second week of January.

The counsel for the agency on Tuesday submitted before the court that the Indian government has challenged the order before the higher forum, and argued that since this is a matter between two countries, in which both are yet to arrive at a diplomatic decision, the trial cannot be stopped.

India had given an executive assurance to Portugal that it would not slap any charges against Salem which would attract death penalty and would not keep him behind bars for more than 25 years

On hearing the objections of the agency, the TADA court rejected Salem’s plea and the trial will continue as per the regular procedure.

Salem, who is currently lodged in Arthur Road jail, had moved the TADA court for a stay on the trial earlier too, in November 2011.

His application was, however, was rejected after the court observed that the Indian government had challenged the Portugal high court order in the supreme court of Portugal, and until a final order was passed there, the proceedings in Indian courts could not be stayed.

First Published: Jan 31, 2012 23:02 IST