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Home > News > Report

'Salem extradition a major success for CBI'

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | November 11, 2005 12:47 IST
Last Updated: November 11, 2005 14:48 IST

Uma Shankar Misra, director of Central Bureau of Investigation, who retires in December, has described the extradition of underworld don Abu Salem and his actress wife Monica Bedi as a major success for the organisation and thanked the Portugal government for assisting the Indian police in extraditing the fugitive who had been been absconding for more than a decade and was wanted in over 50 odd cases against him.

"This is not a success of an individual, but that of an organisation. I may retire next month, but the CBI will carry on the good work," Misra told after he held a crowded press conference at the CBI headqarters in Lodhi complex on Friday morning to announce the extradition of the two accused to India.

"They were brought to India by a special plane, which landed in Mumbai between 7.15 and 8 am. They will be produced before designated Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention Act) court that has concluded the trial of the other accused persons and reserved the judgement," he said.

The Portugal police had notifiedthe CBI onOctober 19that if they do not take the custody of the two accused Salem and Monica by November 10, 2005, they would deem that the CBI is not interested in them.

"We rushed a team of one deputy inspector general, one deputy superintendent of police and two inspectors including a woman inspector from Mumbai to take charge of the accused persons. Our team reached Lisbon onOctober 29 and had been camping theretill they got the custody of the accused on Novermber 10 in the afternoon. The team brought the two accused persons to Mumbai by a special plane," M L Sharma, special director, said in an exclusive conversation with this correspondent.

The woman inspector was included in the team to take care of Monica Bedi during the flight.

"We would have kept it underwraps had it not been leaked out by a Portgal news agency," Sharma conceded when questioned how did they managed to sit on the information for such a long time.

Salem is one of the 24 accused persons who had been declared absconder by the Mumbai TADA court. With his arrest, the number of absconders in the Mumbai bomb blast cases goes down to 23, which includes Dawood Ibrahim.

"We will produce him in the Mumbai TADA court in the afternoon and seek his police remand for the maximum number of days so that we can interrogate him about the Mumbai blasts,two cases of murder including that of Ajit Diwani, former private secretary to film actress Manisha Koirala and a fake passport case that are with us. The extradition has been granted in eight cases only out of which three are with the Delhi police and these cases relate to extortion of money," Misra said.

Asked about the focus of interrogation of Salem, Misra said the agency would take all the required inputs from the Intelligence Bureau andResearch & Analysis Wing to chalk out a wider strategy of questioning the accused.

To a question whether Salem's questioning would focus on issues like the empire of global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim
and Inter-Services Intelligence links in Mumbai blast, Misra said the underworld don would be quizzed "on all the aspects".

He made it clear that as per the agreement between the government of India and the government of Portugal, Salem would not be given death sentence in any of the cases.

"Obviously they were not happy that they were being taken to India. That is why they had started a legal battle that lasted almost three years before we could manage to bring Salem and his wife to India," said a delighted Misra.

Incidentally, U S Misra had joined as special director with CBI when Salem was arrested by the Portugal police, and before he demitted his office.

The CBI plans to take special precautionary measures to protect Salem, who will undergo a separate trial in the Mumbai blast cases after the investigations are completed. "The threat to his life will be there and we will make special security arrangements to meet the threat," Misra said. "Since our cases against Salem and Monica were strong, the constitutional court accepted our plea for extradition," he added.

He refused to divulge the kind of money CBI has spent in bringing Salem to India. "Money is immaterial. What is important is that the rule of law must be seen to prevail," he said.

With PTI inputs

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