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Lisbon letter boost for CBI on Salem

New Delhi, April 10: The CBI has received an official communication from Portuguese authorities emphasising the existence of enough evidence to launch legal proceedings for Abu Salemís extradition to India.

According to CBI sources, the Portuguese government ó in their letter routed through the Indian mission there ó said the prosecutor-generalís office recommended to their justice ministry the initiation of extradition proceedings against 1993 Bombay blasts accused Salem and his wife, Monica Bedi.

CBI officials consider the development a step forward in their attempt to get Salem back to India to stand trial in several criminal cases.

The bureau might send its officers to Lisbon, where the couple is lodged in judicial custody, to assist the justice ministry if necessary. It might also explore the likelihood of hiring local lawyers to help government prosecutors in Lisbon, sources said.

The CBI, unwilling to risk any last-minute glitches this time, is in constant touch with the Portuguese justice ministry through the Indian mission.

Lisbon police, too, have reached the final stages of their investigation against Salem and Bedi, who were caught travelling with fake travel documents. The CBI officials believe the extradition request will be filed in the courts there only after Lisbon police complete their probe.

The bureau today submitted the details on Salem that Portugal had sought through a letter rogatory on March 17.

The information asked for included details of certain telephone numbers and on the marriage Salem and Bedi had solemnised there to get resident permits.

The CBI also forwarded documents and other information pertaining to the 37 cases registered against Salem with police and investigating agencies in India and two cases against Bedi.

Portugal is trying Salem on the four counts of procuring forged documents, marrying a local girl and obtaining a resident work permit on the basis of these documents, and obstructing the police during arrest.

The formal extradition request had listed Salemís involvement in three CBI cases, including the Bombay blasts; four cases with Delhi police and two with Mumbai police.

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