Salem off MCOCA hook, thanks to extradition terms: Minister

March 12th, 2008 - 11:09 pm ICT by admin  

Mumbai, March 12 (IANS) Gangster Abu Salem has been let off the provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) due to the undertaking India gave to Portugal at the time of his extradition, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil Wednesday explained in the state assembly. Making a statement in the assembly on the issue raised by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Devendra Phadnavis, Patil, who holds the home portfolio, however, assured the house that the gangster would be tried under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Earlier in the day, opposition BJP and Shiv Sena members raised a din in the assembly and walked out of the house to protest the government decision to let the gangster off the MCOCA and Section 120 B - the decision that was so far “kept under wraps” - forcing adjournment of the house.

The angry members allowed the proceedings to resume only after Patil assured the house that the government would make a detailed statement on the issue later in the day.

Not satisfied with the home minister’s statement, BJP leader Eknath Khadse demanded to lay before the house the entire correspondence between the two governments, and argued that a specific commitment pertaining to an act of a state government could not have been made under any international treaty.

Speaker Babasaheb Kupekar pacified the incensed members with an assurance that he would allow a debate on the issue at the earliest available opportunity.

Phadnavis later told IANS that using any ordinary provision of the IPC while dealing with the cases of global terrorism would not serve the purpose as vital modern-day evidence like transcripts of tapped conversation are not admissible under the Indian Evidence Act.

“Special acts like MCOCA, however, allow the type of clinching evidence that is effective in dealing with cases of terrorism,” he said.

Salem, accused in the 1993 Mumbai terror bombings, is facing several criminal cases, including those of murder, extortion and fake passports.

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