Gangster Abu Salem, convicted for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, has sought remission from the prisons department. He filed the application on the basis of a recent state circular that said prisoners of a certain category would be granted remission ranging from seven days to three months, in accordance with the time they have spent in jail, to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Salem, yet to be sentenced in the blasts case, is already serving a 25-year term for the murder of city builder Pradeep Jain.
In his application filed before the special court Saturday, Salem said his case was “entirely different” from other convicts as he had been extradited as per a treaty between Portugal and India. He claimed that the extradition order states that all provisions be guaranteed to him including “pardon, reprieve, respite or remission of punishment”. Salem has further claimed that he has spent 15 years in prison since his extradition in 2005 and is entitled to the remission. According to his application, the home department issued a circular on June 3, which states that remission would be granted to certain categories of prisoners.
He claims that as per the extradition order, he is entitled to such a remission. “The applicant (Salem) states that the said circular has not discriminated against the prisoners who are found guilty and punished under TADA, MCOCA or any other special Act and only the concerned court’s opinion is called upon before granting them said state/rajya maafi (remission),” his application says.
Salem has further said when he had inquired from the office of the court about receiving any letter seeking its opinion on granting him remission, he was told that no such letter was sent by the jail authorities. He has submitted before the court that as per the circular, the jail authorities were required to send such a letter to the court, which would give its opinion on whether the convict should be granted remission.
Salem has sought that the court should give directions to the superintendent of Taloja Central Prison where he is lodged to explain as to why the letter was not sent to the court calling for its opinion. “It is the duty of the jail authorities to send a letter and call for the opinion regarding grant of maafi (remission) to him and they cannot take their own decision as they are not the authorities and the said circular is very clear wherein it is stated that the opinion of the concerned court be called for…” his application said.
The special court has directed the jail authorities to file a reply. Salem was convicted for Jain’s murder in February 2005 and faces another life term for his involvement in the 1993 blasts after being convicted on June 16 this year.
As per the circular attached to his application, the prison department will grant remission upto three months to certain categories of prisoners. It states that the opinion of the trial court be taken to decide on granting remission ranging from seven days to three months depending on the time the convict has spent in prison.