Despite being convicted in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case by a special TADA Court, underworld don Abu Salem can’t be awarded a death penalty thanks to the extradition treaty between India and Portugal.
On Friday, a special TADA court found Salem guilty of supplying arms and ammunition, including the RDX that was used in the serial blasts.
Apart from Salem, five others – including Mustafa Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui and Tahir Merchant – were also convicted.
While the remaining accused might have to live with the possibility of facing capital punishment like Yakub Memon, who was sentenced to death in 2007 and hanged in 2015 for his involvement in the serial blasts, Salem will be exempt from the same fate.
Salem, who had fled the country earlier, was arrested in 2002 in Portugal and later extradited to India in 2005. Back home, he was already facing various murder, extortion and other cases, for which he was awarded life imprisonment in 2015.
However, according to ABP News, the former Dawood aide cannot be tried for offences other than the ones mentioned in the extradition request or those that invited a death penalty due the extradition treaty between India and Portugal.
According to the treaty, Salem could only be extradited from Portugal on the condition that he never face capital punishment.
Salem was finally deported to India on the basis of an undertaking given by the previous NDA government, and assurances from then Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani and Minister of State for External Affairs Omar Abdullah, that he would not be hanged.
“He cannot be awarded death sentence as we have already given an undertaking to Portugal government according to the rule of specialty,” NS Khadayat, former assistant director Interpol India, had said.
Salem is currently lodged in the Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai.
On March 12, 1993, the country’s commercial capital witnessed an unprecedented terrorist attack when a series of 12 bomb explosions took place one after another in about a span of two hours.
It was the first-ever terrorist attack in the world in which RDX was used on such a large-scale. The attacks left 257 dead, 713 persons seriously injured and destroyed properties worth Rs 27 crore.