New Delhi, Feb. 5: A Portugal court has ordered the extradition of Bombay blasts accused and underworld don Abu Salem.
An Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson termed yesterday’s court order “positive” and appreciated Lisbon’s “excellent cooperation”.
Delhi “would like to express appreciation for the excellent cooperation of the Portuguese government and pay tribute to the efficiency of the Portuguese judicial process which has accepted and upheld the veracity of our claims in this case”, the spokesperson added.
The CBI said it had learnt of the order and had requested the Indian embassy in Lisbon to obtain a copy.
A senior bureau officer said the CBI would be able to react only after it obtains a copy. Bureau officials have also learnt that Portugal’s attorney-general is going to appeal the order. But they do not know the contents of the appeal.
In November last year, a court had also ordered the extradition of Salem’s wife Monica Bedi. However, Bedi appealed against the order.
The CBI will not get hold of Salem right away as he is going to challenge the order. Also, it has not yet been settled if Salem will first serve time in Portugal for offences committed there before he can head back to India.
Salem and Bedi have already been handed jail terms by Portuguese courts for entering the country on forged documents. The two were rounded up in Lisbon on September 21, 2002.
Salem was sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment on three counts — entering Portugal on forged documents, causing injury to a policeman performing his duty and perjury. But the Portuguese government dropped one charge against him — marrying a local girl to get a resident permit.
A close associate of Dawood Ibrahim and his brother Anees Ibrahim Kaskar, Salem is thought to be one of the prime conspirators in the 1993 blasts.