A Central Bureau of Investigation team is to soon leave for
Lisbon (Portugal) to pursue efforts to get arrested gangster Abu Salem back to India, home ministry sources said.
The arrest has prompted hectic activity in New Delhi, which does not want a repeat of last year's episode when Salem managed to give Indian law enforcement agencies the slip.
CBI Director R C Sharma had called on Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani to review the day's developments and decide on the future course of action.
A major hiccup is the lack of an extradition treaty with
Portugal. But the silver lining is the cosy diplomatic relations between the two countries, which has prompted authorities to activate these channels.
Another hurdle is the reluctance of European nations to extradite suspects if they face the death penalty in their native countries upon being convicted.
Portugal is among the nations that have abolished the death penalty as a form of punishment.
Advani on Friday evening promptly announced that Salem would be spared the death penalty, if it ensured that he was handed over to India.
Salem was arrested in Lisbon along with his associate Monica Bedi, who had tried unsuccessfully to make a career in the Indian film industry.
Officials are searching their records for any criminal case against Monica Bedi, so that they can officially seek her extradition too.
According to sources, the arrest of the Mumbai blast accused came after several months of intelligence gathering.
Last December, the Intelligence Bureau had informed the government that Salem had shifted base to Spain, a source said adding, he and Bedi had recently moved to Portugal.
Abu Salem is believed to own a house in Lisbon and also possess a fake Portuguese passport under the name Arsalan.
Officials tracking the goings-on in the underworld believe that some bloodshed is in the offing as Chhota Rajan and his erstwhile mentor Dawood Ibrahim are bent on eliminating each other.
Like Chhota Rajan, Abu Salem had also parted ways with Dawood some time back.
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