Abu Salem’s extradition to India still valid: Supreme Court

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NorthIndiaNew Delhi August 5;Gangster Abu Salem will continue to face trial in various cases in India, including the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, with the Supreme Court on Monday turning down his plea for quashing all proceedings after Portugal’s apex court terminated his extradition to India.

The Supreme Court held that the verdict of Portugal court is “not binding” on courts here and Salem’s extradition to India is still “valid in the eyes of law”.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam, however, allowed the CBI to drop additional charges slapped on Salem under TADA and Explosive Substances Act after his extradition.

45-year-old Salem had sought closure of trial against him in various courts here after the Portugal Supreme Court upheld the order of a lower court there, terminating his extradition for “violation” of deportation rules by Indian authorities.

At the time of Salem’s extradition, India had assured Portugal that no charges entailing death penalty or imprisonment of more than 25 years would be pressed against him, but such charges were later brought in.

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.

Attorney General G E Vahanwati had said government was committed to its assurance given to the Portuguese court and had sought the apex court’s permission to drop the additional charges framed against Salem by the trial court.

The CBI had sought court’s permission for withdrawal of charges under section 5 and 6 of TADA and sections 4(b) and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act in view of its commitment to the Portuguese government.

Salem is currently lodged in Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai.

Following the Portugal SC’s order, he had appealed to the TADA court, saying that the trial against him should be closed.

He then filed a petition in the high court at Lisbon, alleging violation of the Rule of Speciality. In the ruling on September 19 last year, the Lisbon court said there had been a breach of the undertaking given by India.

Salem and his then companion, actress Monica Bedi, were extradited to India on November 11, 2005, after a marathon legal process lasting three years.

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