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Gangster Abu Salem cries foul over new charges

Source: PTI
December 01, 2009 20:07 IST
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Underworld don Abu Salem on Tuesday opposed framing of extortion charges in a Delhi court on the ground that the Indian government did not mention about his impending prosecution under harsher penal provision while seeking his extradition from Portugal.

"The CBI, in the extradition request to Portugal, had said that Salem would be prosecuted under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 384 (extortion), which prescribes a maximum jail term of three years of the Indian Penal Code," Arvind Shukla, counsel for the accused, told the court.

"Now, the prosecution wants to frame charges under section 387 (putting a person in fear of life) of the IPC, which prescribes maximum jail term of seven years," he said before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kiran Bansal.

Salem, along with Romesh Sharma, alleged frontman of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, has been booked for allegedly making threat calls to three Delhi-based businesspersons demanding money in 1998.

Public prosecutor Rajeev Mohan opposed Salem's contention contending the fact that Salem was in active connivance with Romesh Sharma was sufficient to frame extortion charges against him.

The court has fixed the matter for order on charge framing against Salem on December 15 and said the trial against Romesh and Salem will be segregated. A FIR was lodged at Hauz Khas police station in 1998 under 384 (extortion) and 120B (conspiracy) of IPC.

Salem, extradited from Portugal in 2005 to face trial in various cases, including that of 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, is facing trial along with Romesh on the charge of hatching a conspiracy to extort money from three persons based in Delhi.

The gangster has also sought bail on statutory grounds saying he has spent three years in jail, which is more than the prescribed punishment for the offence of extortion. He was extradited in connection with Mumbai blasts, passport forgery cases in Lucknow and Hyderabad, three extortion cases and a conspiracy to murder in Delhi and Pradip Jain case in Mumbai.

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