The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CBI upbeat on Salem extradition

New Delhi, Feb. 11: The CBI expects a decision shortly on the extradition of Abu Salem, the Bombay blast accused, as the Portuguese police probe against the underworld don is about to be completed.

According to their law, the Portuguese authorities are supposed to complete investigations against Salem and his actress wife, Monica Bedi, arrested in Lisbon on charges of travelling with forged documents, within six months, CBI special director U.S. Mishra said.

On the first day of a three-day conference on Effective Prosecution of Corruption, he said: “We have sent the extradition warrant and they are working on our request and we are expecting a result soon,” he said. It is almost seven months since the two were arrested on September 18. The judicial remand was extended again after the three-month judicial custody ended in December.

The CBI had sent an extradition request to Portugal before the three-month custody ended. In the request, the bureau had listed Salem’s involvement in three CBI cases, including the 1993 Bombay bomb blast, four cases with Delhi police and two registered by Mumbai police.

Asked about the chances of getting Salem to India, Mishra said: “Extradition is a sovereign decision of the country. We can try and hope for the best.” India has given Portugal an executive assurance that Salem will not be awarded capital punishment if he is convicted here.

Bhure Lal, the chief guest at the seminar, who is the Cabinet Secretariat secretary (coordination and public grievances), asserted that the Centre was firm on a crackdown on corruption for it was ready to sanction prosecution in over 200 corruption cases investigated by the CBI.

“We are holding a meeting on February 20 to discuss all outstanding issues related to these long pending cases where public servants were involved and will resolve the issue of according sanction,” Bhure Lal said.

Representatives of 14 countries attended the seminar, jointly organised by the CBI, Asian Development Bank and Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development.

“Corruption stops external funding, development process goes slow, prices of commodities go up and rate of unemployment increases,” Bhure Lal said, expressing his displeasure over frequent involvement of bureaucrats in corruption cases.

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