The Delhi Police has moved a court here seeking to invoke stringent extortion charge against extradited gangster Abu Salem for allegedly making threat calls to some businessmen in 1998.

Salem, extradited from Portugal in 2005 to face trial in eight cases including the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, was initially charged under section 384 (extortion) and 120B (conspiracy) of the IPC, which provides for a maximum three-year jail term.

The police in their application have now sought framing of additional charge under section 387 (putting a person in fear of death in order to commit extortion) against Salem, which entails seven years imprisonment as maximum punishment.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Rakesh Pandit has now fixed the plea of police for arguments on March 23.

Salem’s counsel M.S. Khan, however, opposed the plea saying other co-accused have not been charged under the harsher penal provision.

Salem, along with co-accused Romesh Sharma, alleged front-man of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, is accused of making threat calls to businessmen Vinay Kumar Singh and Malkiyat Singh in 1998.

He had also threatened some employees of a company.

Later, an FIR was lodged at Hauz Khas police station in 1998.

Sharma used to provide information to Salem on phone regarding the potential targets, police said in the charge-sheet.

The trial against Sharma has reached its fag end, as it was separated from that of Salem who was absconding after the registration of the case.

Currently lodged in Arthur Road jail in Mumbai, Salem is also facing trials in other two extortion cases in the national capital.