Judgement on Abu Salem in 1995 murder case reserved till February 16

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Mumbai : A special TADA court in Mumbai on Friday reserved its judgement till Monday in the 1995 murder case of city-based builder Pradeep Jain in which deported gangster Abu Salem is the main accused.

“The court is likely to pronounce its verdict on February 16,” said Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam. Also, this will be the first judgement in a case involving Salem in India after he was deported in 2005, he said.

According to police, on March 7, 1995, Jain was shot dead by assailants outside his Juhu bungalow after he allegedly refused to part with his huge property to Salem.

Salem, another builder Virendra Jhamb and Mehndi Hassan are facing the trial in the case. While accused Naeem Khan turned approver, another accused Riyaz Siddiqui, who had also become approve, later turned hostile in the court.

Trial of Siddiqui was later separated. Since the trial began in 2008, the prosecution has so far examined around 25 witnesses in the case while defense examined one witness.

The court, in January last year, had dropped some sections against Salem in the case after the prosecution sought for the same saying that some charges need to be withdrawn in order to maintain cordial relations between two sovereign countries – India and Portugal.

Salem, an accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, was extradited from Portugal on November 11, 2005, after a prolonged legal battle. The Supreme Court of Portugal, in 2012, had dismissed an appeal of the CBI which had challenged termination of his extradition.

He has also moved Supreme Court of Portugal seeking directions to the Indian government to execute its order of cancelling his extradition.

In June 2012, Salem was shot at in Taloja Central jail in Navi Mumbai allegedly by gangster Devendra Jagtap alias JD, an accused in the murder case of advocate Shahid Azmi who had represented a 26/11 Mumbai attack accused.

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