Saturday, September 21, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Salem nabbed in Lisbon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 20
Underworld don and one of the prime accused in the Mumbai serial blasts case, Abu Salem, has been arrested in Lisbon, Portugal, while reportedly travelling with Bollywood actress Monica Bedi, sources said today.

Salem, who had been eluding the police dragnet. Since the Mumbai blasts in 1993, was arrested by Interpol officials on Wednesday. He was travelling on a Portugese passport.

Confirming the arrest of Salem, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani said efforts would be made to bring the gangster to justice in India although India did not have an extradition treaty with Portugal.

CBI Director P.C. Sharma, who briefed Mr Advani and Union Home Secretary Kamal Pande about Salem’s arrest, told newspersons that the government was in touch with the Portugese authorities and a CBI team was likely to be sent to Lisbon tomorrow.

India does not have an extradition treaty with Portugal and thus, the CBI, with the help of the Ministry of External Affairs, will try to impress upon the Portugese authorities for the extradition of Abu Salem to India for his trial in numerous cases pending against him”, he said.

“A formal decision on sending a CBI team will be taken tomorrow,” Mr Sharma, who also reportedly had a meeting with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, said.

Last year Salem was arrested in Sharjah, but the Mumbai police could not get him extradited. Salem was picked up by the Dubai police in connection with charges of fraud against a car import firm being run on his behalf by his brothers.

He was later released on bail with a UAE resident as guarantor, but escaped from the country using a Pakistani passport.

Salem, who is also wanted in over 50 cases of extortion, kidnapping and murder, is a native of Saria Meer in Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh.

He began his career as a driver in Delhi and subsequently moved to Mumbai and took to petty crimes.

According to police records, Salem was running a telephone booth at Arsa Market in Andheri and took to bigger crimes after he came in contact with Dawood Ibrahim’s younger brother Anees.

It was the sensational killing of music baron Gulshan Kumar in 1997 that pushed Salem, known to have close contacts with some Bollywood actresses, up the underworld hierarchy.

He broke away from Dawood Ibrahim after a fight with Chhota Shakeel, the D-Company’s unofficial second-in command, in 1988.

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