New Delhi/Mumbai, Jan 17 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Tuesday said Portugal’s Supreme Court had cancelled the extradition of underworld don Abu Salem, but added that his trial in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case will continue in India.
Salem immediately moved a special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court in Mumbai, saying that the ongoing trial against him in the serial blasts case was illegal after the ruling of the Portuguese apex court on his extradition.
‘With regard to the Portuguese Supreme Court verdict, we have moved an application seeking closure of trial, as continuing it will be illegal,’ said Salem’s counsel Rashid Ansari, who filed the plea before Special Judge G.A. Sanap.
However, a CBI spokesperson said the agency will approach the Portuguese constitutional court, whose decisions are above any other authority in the European country, against the Supreme Court order.
The spokesperson said the Supreme Court order will have no bearing on the trial of Salem, who is one of the the prime accused in Mumbai serial blasts and also has murder and extortion cases against him.
A Lisbon court had in September ordered revocation of Salem’s extradition, accusing Indian probe agencies of violating the conditions under which he was permitted to be taken to India in November 2005 to face trial in nine cases.
The order was challenged in the Portuguese Supreme Court by Indian authorities. But the apex court rejected India’s appeal, saying the CBI had violated extradition treaty between the two countries.
Salem and his girlfriend Monica Bedi were extradited to India Nov 11, 2005, after a long legal process in Portugal that lasted for three years after he was detained in Lisbon Sept 18, 2002.
According to CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra, the bone of contention was some extra charges, which were not included in Abu Salem’s extradition order, put by a Mumbai court during his trial in the serial blasts case.
At the time of his extradition, the Indian government assured Portugal that the gangster would not be given death penalty or charged with any section of law which entails jail for more than 25 years.
Salem’s was the first successful extradition from any European country to India involving a person accused of committing heinous crimes.