Mumbai 1993 Blast Case: Abu Salem Appeals To TADA Court Seeking Sentence Reduction

Mumbai 1993 Blast Case: Abu Salem Appeals To TADA Court Seeking Sentence Reduction

Currently, Salem is lodged at in Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail after being sentenced to life in the Mumbai 1993 Blast Case.

Charul Shah JoshiUpdated: Monday, January 15, 2024, 07:27 PM IST
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Abu Salem | File

Gangster Abu Salem has approached the special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court seeking a set-off for the period he spent in prison after his arrest before he was held guilty. In his plea, the gangster said that the sentence of life imprisonment should be considered as 14 years.

Salem, who was a part of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's gang, was extradited to India in November 2005 for his involvement in the 1993 blast and the 1995 murder case of Mumbai-based builder Pradeep Jain. He has been sentenced to life under the provisions of TADA.

Salem's lawyer contests severe penalties

Farhana Shah, Salem's lawyer, has filed a plea, stating that, as per the solemn sovereign assurance to the Government of the Portuguese Republic, Salem cannot be awarded the penalty of death or life imprisonment/imprisonment for an indeterminate term/for a term exceeding 25 years.

However, the plea further asserts that, "It was also guaranteed that as per Portuguese law if the applicant was convicted, he would not be given more than 25 years of punishment. It was written that in case of life conviction, the state has the power to release the convict prematurely under sections 432-433 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Power to suspend or remit the sentence). Accordingly, we will convert life to 14 years imprisonment."

Arguments and contention in Salem's plea

Shah argued before the court on Monday that if Salem is given the benefits of remittance and other such provisions as per the jail manual, he can be released early. She also argued that Salem was arrested after his extradition in November 2005, and he was held guilty in September 2017. She pleaded that the said period should also be considered while calculating his term of imprisonment and should be included.

It was further contended that the set-off has to be granted, and compliance has to be done as per the order of the Supreme Court passed on July 11, 2022. It is argued that if the government fails to do so, it would be contempt of the court.

Won't be able to come out of jail before 2030: Prosecutor

However, the plea was opposed by special public prosecutor Deepak Salvi. Salvi argued that the issue about compliance with the solemn assurance and the power of the government to release Salem has been dealt with before the Supreme Court.

"It was held that the execution of the solemn assurance is the exclusive domain of the government and not of the court. Besides, even if we consider that Salem cannot be put under custody for more than 25 years, he will not be able to come out of prison before 2030," Salvi said.

The CBI, in its reply to Salem's plea, stated that, as per the order dated July 11, 2005, the Supreme Court directed the state that the applicant was arrested on October 12, 2005, in connection with the bomb blast case. The state is to forward the necessary papers one month prior to the completion of the 25 years sentence of the applicant to the President of India or to take a decision in terms of section 432 & 433 of Cr.P.C.

However, the CBI contended, "When no action or documents contrary to the order of this court are brought on record, the contempt plea cannot be raised against the authority." The court has now asked Shah to clarify if Salem has been served with any letter by the authority. The plea will be heard further next week.

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