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SC rejects Abu Salem plea to quash trials against him

 SC rejects Abu Salem plea to quash trials against him

FIle photo of Abu Salem: AFP

The Supreme Court has rejected Abu Salem’s plea for quashing all trials against him in various cases after Portugal’s apex court terminated his extradition to India for “violation” of deportation rules by Indian authorities.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam had reserved its verdict till 9 July saying it would pass the order after considering the CBI’s submission that the agency was ready to drop certain charges against 45-year-old Salem under Tada and the Explosive Substances Act in view of its commitment to the Portuguese government at the time of his extradition that he should not be awarded the death penalty or detained in custody for more than 25 years if found guilty.

It had also said that its ruling was not a violation of the extradition treaty with Portugal.

However the Supreme Court had reportedly said that Salem would continue to face trial in India, but had allowed certain charges against him framed under stringent provisions of Tada to be dropped. This means that he will now not be eligible for the death sentence.

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

The agency sought withdrawal of charges under section 5 and 6 of Tada and sections 4(b) and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act.

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

He had filed the application 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.

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.

Salem then filed a petition in the high court at Lisbon, alleging violation of the Rule of Speciality. In the ruling on 19 September 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 11 November, 2005, after a marathon legal process lasting three years.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Aug 05, 2013 15:03:47 IST