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Updated: November 9, 2011 04:25 IST

Court clears the way for Salem's trial in two cases

Staff Reporter
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Abu Salem
Abu Salem

He will be tried for 1993 Mumbai blasts, Pradeep Jain murder

A designated Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court on Tuesday rejected the application of gangster Abu Salem, pleading to stay proceedings against him after a Lisbon court revoked his extradition.

The court's order has cleared the way for Salem's trial in two cases here — the 1993 Mumbai blasts case and Pradeep Jain murder case.

“It can't be said at this stage that the decision of the court of authority, Lisbon, is final and it should be used to stay the proceedings. The termination of extradition has not yet attained finality. Its decision has been challenged [by the Indian authorities]. The matter is before the Supreme Court of Justice, Portugal. Since it has not attained finality, it will not be appropriate to stay the trial of the accused. The application made by the accused deserves to be rejected,” G. A. Sanap, special designated TADA judge, observed while passing the order here on Tuesday.

Salem had filed a plea in the court stating that “due to the breach of rule of speciality (by the Indian authorities), his extradition was terminated” by the Lisbon High Court. He had appealed that in view of termination of his extradition, the court should put a stay on the proceedings against him.

‘Rule of speciality' prohibits the prosecution from trying an extradited person for any other offence apart from the one for which he was extradited. Salem pleaded that the proceedings should continue only after there was a final decision on the extradition matter.

Supreme Court ruling

But the court did not agree with the plea. “The grievance made by the accused of breach of speciality has been turned down by the Supreme Court of India. This decision of the Supreme Court cannot be ignored,” Judge Sanap said.

He observed that if the proceedings on the termination of extradition end after two-three years, the court would be required to start the same proceedings against the accused all over again. “This, in my humble opinion, will be a criminal wastage of time.”

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in its reply to Salem's application, stated that the proceedings against the accused can be halted only on the orders of the Government of India or on the instructions of the Supreme Court of India.

The court said that even if it was found in the future that there was a breach of the rule of speciality, Salem could be sent back at any stage of the trial. He was extradited from Portugal in 2005.

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