Ex-Foreign Secretary Mathai deposes in 1993 Mumbai blasts case

Mumbai: Ranjan Mathai, former Foreign Secretary, now India's High Commissioner to the UK, today told the special TADA court here that the Ministry of External Affairs hadn't held any meeting regarding the additional charges slapped against gangster Abu Salem.

Mathai deposed through a video-link before the judge G A Sanap who is conducting the trial of remaining accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case. The court had earlier convicted 100 accused in the case, including Yakub Memon who was hanged in July this year.

Salem, who is an accused in the case and who was extradited from Portugal in 2005, had sought Mathai's deposition, claiming that there had been two meetings of top ministry officials where it was decided that some of the additional charges against Salem would be dropped.

But Mathai today rejected the claim. According to Salem's lawyers, meetings were held on April 26, 2012 and January 7, 2013. Mathai's deposition would continue tomorrow. Salem's lawyers have been arguing that some of the charges slapped against him by Indian investigation agencies are illegal because when he was extradited, Indian government had given assurance to Portugal authorities about the offences for which he would be tried.

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