Court puts off Abu Salem case till Dec 20

November 8th, 2011 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 8 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Tuesday deferred till Dec 20 the hearing on a Delhi Police plea seeking withdrawal of a Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) case against don Abu Salem, now lodged in a Mumbai jail.

Police approached the court after a Portugal court’s decision in September to revoke Salem’s extradition.

The court in Portugal accused the Indian agencies of violating the conditions under which he was permitted to be taken to India in November 2005 to face trial in eight cases, including the 1993 Mumbai blasts.

Justice V.K. Shali deferred the hearing of the case till Dec 20, after counsel for Delhi Police sought an adjournment.

The court pulled up police for negligence while filing the
chargesheet against Salem under the MCOCA when it contravened the extradition pact with Portugal.

On Oct 21, appearing for Delhi Police, Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval, seeking early hearing of the application, pleaded before the court that it should allow them to withdraw charges under the MCOCA against Salem.

“Otherwise the extradition of the accused would be in jeopardy,” he said.

“Why was the state lax when the charge sheet against Salem was filed under the MCOCA and charges were framed in contravention of the extradition agreement? You are trying to take advantage of your own wrong,” Justice Shali said earlier.

In October, court directed Salem, lodged in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail, to file his reply.

“Meanwhile, the ongoing trial at different courts here is stayed, till this court is hearing the petition,” said the court.

At the time of Salem’s extradition six years ago, India had given an assurance to Portugal that he would not be given death penalty or charged under any section of law which entails jail for more than 25 years.

Salem, extradited from Portugal in 2005, was booked under the MCOCA for allegedly making extortion calls to a Delhi-based businessman Ashok Gupta in 2002 demanding Rs.5 crore as protection money.

A trial court in 2009 dismissed the police plea seeking to withdraw charges under the MCOCA against Salem.

Aggrieved, Salem approached the high court in Delhi and a court in Portugal.

A three-judge bench of the Portugal court said that he be sent back to that country as the Indian authorities had breached the extradition terms.

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