Ten years after gangster Abu Salem was extradited by Portugal, a Mumbai court is likely to pronounce its sentence Wednesday after he was found guilty in the murder of Mumbai realtor Pradeep Jain. A former associate of wanted terrorist and mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, the 47-year-old Salem is currently lodged in Taloja Central Jail in adjoining Raigad district.
In the Jain murder trial, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had initially demanded the death penalty, which he later converted to a life sentence owing to conditions of the extradition treaty between India and Portugal. Salem's lawyer Sudeep Pasgola argued that he could not be given the death sentence as it would violate the treaty between the two countries.
On Feb 16, the special TADA court had found Salem and two others - Mehndi Hasan and Virendra Jhamb - guilty of the murder of Jain, who was shot dead outside his Juhu residence March 7, 1995 following a property dispute.
Salem, Hasan and Jhamb were charged and convicted for offences like murder and criminal conspiracy. Additional Sessions Judge V.A. Sanap will pass the order on punishment. The case is one of the most important for the Indian legal and law enforcing authorities as it involves a wanted absconding accused extradited to face the law.
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