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Extradition proceedings against
gangster Abu Salem in last leg
Sumir Kaul in New Delhi |
June 11, 2003 19:01 IST
The extradition proceedings against gangster Abu Salem in Portugal have entered the last stage, senior Central Bureau of Investigation officials said in New Delhi.
Salem is an accused in the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai, that left over 250 dead.
The gangster and his girl friend Monica Bedi are currently under detention in Lisbon.
Highly-placed sources said Salem submitted his reply to the CBI's charges in a Portugal court on June 3. The agency will soon send its rejoinder to the Portuguese prosecutor general.
The CBI has hired a legal consulting firm -- Moraos Leitao and J Galvio Tales -- in Lisbon to assist the prosecutor general's office in preparing the case.
The agency has already sent its reply to the queries raised by Monica Bedi during her trial before the Portuguese court.
She had raised three queries:
1. Whether she will face harrassment in India as she is a Muslim?
2. What was the guarantee that the President would not turn down her appeal against a death penalty or a life sentence exceeding 45 years?
3. Why her case would be tried in a special court and not in a normal court?
The CBI termed her fear of facing harrassment because she is a Muslim as baseless and said that India is a democratic country that does not discriminate on the basis of religion, caste, creed or sex.
Replying to other points, the CBI said that the decision of the Union council of ministers is binding on the President and that the Cabinet has taken a decision not to award death penalty or life sentence of more than 45 years either to Salem or Bedi.
In its reply to the third charge, the CBI said that since her case was under the Prevention of Corruption Act, it had to be tried in a special court.
Abu Salem's extradition could help in unravelling the role of Pakistan in the 1993 blasts in Mumbai.
The gangster and his girl friend were arrested in Lisbon following an Interpol Red Corner notice issued at the behest of the CBI on September 18.