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US help in Salem case

Calcutta, Nov. 27: American ambassador to India Robert D. Blackwill today said the US was working with the CBI and the Portuguese government to obtain a deportation order for Mumbai underworld don Abu Salem, who was arrested in Lisbon on September 18.

A member of the Dawood Ibrahim gang, Salem is wanted in India for his involvement in the 1993 Mumbai blasts.

Speaking at a programme organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Blackwill said after Salem’s arrest, India has asked Portugal to deport Salem.

“The United States is working with the CBI and the Portuguese to obtain a favourable conclusion in this matter on behalf of the government and the people of India,” he added.

Blackwill said the CBI had requested Washington’s intervention with Lisbon because of the Bush administration’s prior involvement in assisting India to track down Salem and the strong relations between law enforcement agencies of the two countries.

“The top of the Bush administration concurred and acted within hours. American representatives facilitated several meetings between high ranking CBI officials, the American ambassador to Portugal and Portuguese officials in Lisbon,” he added.

The US ambassador said American law enforcement agencies, particularly the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have been working closely with the CBI and the Interpol for over 12 months to nab Salem.

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