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Salem asks for confession

Mumbai, Jan. 19: After dodging the law for years, Abu Salem is now seeking it out.

The extradited don, an accused in the Bombay blasts case, has invoked the Right to Information Act for a copy of his confessional statement to the CBI.

“Confession is a voluntary act. It cannot be kept secret from the person who has confessed because the statement can contain nothing which he does not know. So what is there to hide' Let them make it available to him,” Salem’s counsel A. Sarogi said.

Salem’s lawyers have been complaining that his confessions, including the one to the CBI in November, have been obtained under duress.

“This is a common complaint. They confess and then retract in court. So we don’t gain much legally out of their confessions. But it helps in the investigation and in providing leads,” said DCP Dhananjay Kamalakar of the Mumbai police crime branch.

Although Section 3 of the act says all citizens have a right to information subject to the act’s provisions, Section 8(h) says the state can refuse to divulge information if it impedes the process of any investigation.

But Sarogi said there are Supreme Court judgments which say that in case of conflict between “preventive detention law and individual liberty, the latter should be upheld”.

The case will come up for hearing in the designated anti-terror court of Judge P.D. Kode on January 23.

But the court is expected to give an order only after February 2.

The crime branch was today granted Salem’s custody till February 2 in connection with the 2001 murder of Ajit Dewani, former secretary of Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala.

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