ABU SALEM EXTRADITION MATTER

Press Release

New Delhi , 10.07.2012

            In its legal interpretation of the Abu Salem extradition matter, the Constitutional Court of Portugal has turned down India’s plea to appeal on grounds that it does not have locus/legitimacy.

 

            The court order is being examined and other available legal options are being explored.

 

            It is pertinent to note that this same matter has been differently legally interpreted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, which had dismissed Salem’s appeal and held that framing of charges by Trial Court were in accordance with law, as they provided lesser sentence as compared to the offences for which his extradition was granted.

 

            Apart from the ongoing trial in the 1993 Bombay Blasts Case, investigated by the CBI, Abu Salem is an accused in several other heinous offences by other law enforcement agencies across the country, which are under various stages of trial.

 

            The CBI had done its very best to get Salem extradited in 2005, to face trial in India for the 1993 Bombay Blasts Case. It is due to CBI’s painstaking efforts that Salem is now facing trial in several cases. The CBI has also been pursuing legal efforts by the Governments of India and Portugal.

 

A brief background of matter is as follows:

 

• Abu Salem Abdul Qayoom Ansari was an absconding accused in several criminal cases, including Serial Bombay Bomb Blast Cases of 12th March, 1993. He was a  prime conspirator of the blasts, which killed 250 innocent persons, and was also involved in possession, transportation and distribution of arms and explosives, illegally smuggled into the country for achieving the objects of criminal conspiracy.

 

• The CBI conducted a meticulous and comprehensive investigation into the 1993 blasts case, and submitted 20 supplementary chargesheets to the Designated Trial Court, Mumbai. Trial in the Bombay Serial Blasts Case began in April, 1995.  Charges were framed by the Designated Trial Court, Mumbai against all the accused. Salem was then an absconding accused.

 

• CBI continued to make relentless efforts to track Salem. On CBI’s request an RCN was issued by Interpol against Salem in 1997.  CBI and worked in close coordination with Interpol, painstakingly following all leads to track him. An attempt to extradite Salem from UAE did not succeed, but CBI continued to pursue him. Salem was finally arrested in September 2002 in Lisbon, and was extradited to India on 11.11.2005.

 

• After his extradition to India, the Designated Trial Court, Mumbai framed charges against Abu Salem on the basis of evidence produced before it. The Court removed Abu Salem’s name as absconder and added his name to the list of accused facing trial.   Abu Salem subjected himself to the scrutiny of the court.

 

• During the course of the trials he was facing, Abu Salem challenged the charges framed against him, alleging that some of these were not in accordance with conditions laid down by Portuguese authorities. The Courts in India rejected his contention and held that these were framed by the Trial Court, keeping in view provisions of the Indian Extradition Act, which permit framing of charges for ‘lesser offences’. The Supreme Court of India also dismissed Salem’s appeal and held that framing of charges by Trial Court were in accordance with law, as they provided lesser sentence as compared to the offences for which his extradition was granted.

 

• At the time of Salem’s extradition, the then Dy. Prime Minister of India,  had given a solemn assurance to the Govt of Portugal that Abu Salem will not be awarded death penalty and will not be detained in custody for over 25 years. None of these assurances have been violated.

 

• Abu Salem also simultaneously filed a Petition in the High Court of Lisbon alleging that he has been charged for certain offences in India for which his extradition was not permitted. The Portugal High Court allowed his Petition and ruled that Extradition Conditions were violated. The Public Prosecutor of Portugal filed an Appeal in the Supreme Court of Justice, Portugal but the same was not accepted. The Union of India also filed an Appeal against the Order of the High Court, but it was not considered on merit on the grounds that it has no locus/legitimacy. The Constitutional Court of Portugal has upheld the order of Portugal’s Supreme Court that Union of India has no locus/legitimacy to appeal the verdict

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