Sunday, September 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Efforts on for Abu’s extradition
CBI team to leave for Lisbon soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 21
The CBI today said that the underworld don Abdul Salem Qayyum Ansari alias Abu Salem, and his companion Monica Bedi, who were arrested by the Portuguese authorities, were residing in Lisbon on fake residence permits and were holding Pakistani passports.

The CBI will be making all possible efforts for the deportation of the duo, who were arrested by the Lisbon police late on Wednesday along with their accomplice Syed Hyder from outside their house for possessing fake identity documents, agency spokesman Ashwini Kumar told a crowded press conference here.

The couple had been staying in Lisbon since August this year after acquiring fake residence permits in the names of Arsalan Mohsin Ali (Abu Salem) and Sanan Malik Kamal (Monica Bedi).

The two, who possess a number of passports, including Indian, Pakistani and Portuguese, were known to be frequently visiting the USA and various European countries, while making Lisbon their base.

The three were produced in Lisbon yesterday before a local court which sent them to police judicial custody for 90 days, he said, adding that Abu Salem reportedly told the court that he was not the person the Indian authorities were looking for.

The plea was rejected by a court after the local lawyer convinced the Judge that Abu Salem was wanted by Interpol in connection with a number of cases in India, including the 1993 Bombay blasts case.

“Interpol, Lisbon, informed about the arrest to the CBI yesterday. It was requested that the CBI Interpol, New Delhi should confirm that the fugitive is wanted in India and the request for his extradition will be sent through the diplomatic channel. The same was immediately confirmed,” he said.

To a question whether the possession of a Pakistani passport by Salem could lead to Salem’s deportation to Pakistan from where he is presumed to have come to Portugal, the spokesman said “if we are able to satisfy the Portuguese authorities about the Indian identity of Abu Salem and Monica Bedi, he could well be deported to India.”

The spokesman said efforts were on through diplomatic channels to get Salem and Bedi extradited or deported to India.

“The CBI Interpol, New Delhi is in constant touch with Interpol Lisbon and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the USA. Whatever procedures are required through Interpol and our diplomatic channels will be taken care of,” Mr Kumar said, adding that “discussions are in progress with our Ambassador in Lisbon and the Portugese Police authorities.”

Asked whether the two could be extradited in the absence of an extradition treaty with Portugal, Mr Kumar said, “In certain cases it was possible through diplomatic channels. We will prove his Indian identity and impress upon the Portuguese authorities that he should first be handed over to India.”

The CBI spokesman said the arrest of Salem was the result of its four to five months trail of the fugitive and the “fruitful” liaisoning with the Interpol authorities in Portugual and FBI.

A CBI team, equipped with evidence to prove Salem’s identity, would be leaving for Lisbon very soon. The composition and the level of participation is under consideration, he added.

The Portuguese authorities had asked Interpol India to confirm that the fugitive was wanted in India and a request for his extradition will be sent through diplomatic channels, the spokesman said, adding that the same was immediately confirmed.

Mr Kumar said the CBI Interpol came to know that Salem and Monica had procured residence permits in Portugal and it requested the Portuguese authorities to locate and effect his arrest.

His photographs and fingerprints were sent to the Portuguese authorities about a couple of months ago to fix his identity in case of his arrest.

The agency said it was photographs and finger prints of Salem which helped the Portuguese authorities establish his identity.

Meanwhile, according to government sources, Portugal has assured full cooperation to India which has sought the deportation of Salem.


No death penalty, India to assure Portugal

Bhubaneswar, September 21
India has sought the deportation of Abu Salem from Portugal and would give in writing to Lisbon that he would not be given the death penalty if found guilty of the charges against him, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani said today.

Mr Advani told reporters here that Salem had been detained in Portugal for three months and during this period the CBI, with the help of the Interpol, would try to get him deported.

“I hope during this period the task would be completed and Salem would be brought back and tried for the crimes he has committed,” he said. He said the Portuguese Government had been requested through its Embassy in New Delhi and the Indian mission in Lisbon to deport Salem to India.

Mr Advani said the Indian Government would give in writing to Portugal, a member of the European Union, that Salem, if deported, would not be given the death penalty.

According to a convention to which EU countries are signatories, an accused cannot be deported to a country where he might be executed.

Home Ministry sources said Mr Advani spoke to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on the issue, adding that the process to seek the deportation of Salem was being worked out by the Home Ministry and the Law Ministry. PTI

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