NEW DELHI: India has approached Portugal's Supreme Court challenging its High Court order which had terminated the extradition of underworld don Abu Salem for breach of agreement by India by slapping charges which attract death penalty.
India, in its appeal before the Portuguese Supreme Court, has said the interpretation of the High Court of the trial in various courts of the country was not correct.
In its affidavit, India has assured that the fresh charges levelled against Salem, a key accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, attracted less jail term than the offences for which he had been extradited, official sources said here today.
In its plea, which will soon come up for hearing, India has asked for a stay on the Portuguese High Court order, the sources said.
Lisbon High Court had on September 19 allowed the plea of the extradited gangster, being tried in eight criminal cases including the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, that he be sent back to Portugal.
Salem, a gangster extradited from Portugal in November 2005, was charged with MCOCA for allegedly making extortion calls to Delhi-based businessman Ashok Gupta in 2002, demanding Rs five crore as protection money.
The Portuguese court had said that in view of the new charges against Salem which entail death penalty, the authorisation granted for his extradition has been terminated as it violated the principle of speciality.
India had given an 'executive assurance' to Portugal that Salem would not be given death penalty or charged with any section of law which entails jail for more than 25 years, once he is extradited.
If India fails to convince the Portuguese judiciary, Salem may have to be sent back to jail in Lisbon.
The then NDA government had given an executive assurance to Portugal in 2005 that after Salem's extradition he would be tried only in eight cases and will not be awarded imprisonment exceeding 25 years. It was also vowed that the gangster would not be tried under any special law. Salem's counsel had approached the Portuguese High Court after the Supreme Court here dismissed his plea last year and upheld the a designated TADA court's decision to frame additional charges against him for the 1993 Mumbai blasts in addition to the other grave charges for which he was extradited by Portugal government to face trial in India. Salem, the prime accused along with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, and his girlfriend Monica Bedi were extradited to India on November 11, 2005, after a torturous legal process in Portugal lasting three years.
The extradition of Salem, who is also wanted in various cases including the murder of noted film producer Gulshan Kumar, came after an assurance by the Indian government to Portugal that he would not be given death penalty, an important requirement in extradition proceedings in Europe.
The underworld don had been extradited to India to face trial in eight cases which included the serial blasts, two cases of forgery of passports in Lucknow, three cases of extortion in Delhi and two murder cases in Mumbai which included murder of Ajit Dewani, secretary of Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala.
Salem's was the first successful extradition from any European country to India involving a person accused of committing heinous crimes.