The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Friday quashed a production warrant issued by a Bhopal court against Abu Salem, thereby setting aside the criminal proceedings against him in a murder case lodged at Parvalia police station in Bhopal. Salem was brought to India from Portugal in November 2005 pursuant to a 2003 order of Ministry of Justice, Portugal. He was one of the seven accused in the 2002 murder case and was booked under Sections 302 and 120 (b) of the IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act.
Salem’s counsel Alok Vagrecha told The Indian Express that the Bhopal murder was the 10th case registered against his client, a violation of the extradition covenant because he was to be tried in nine cases, including another murder case.
The state government had started the criminal proceedings against Salem in 2007. When the sessions court refused to quash the proceedings against him, Salem moved the Madhya Pradesh High Court in 2014.
The state government argued that the only assurance given to Portugal was that Salem would not be given death penalty or imprisonment exceeding 25 years and therefore he could be tried in the Bhopal murder case.
Vagrecha said HC judge Vivek Agarwal not only agreed with the contention that it was a violation of the extradition decree but also that Salem’s fundamental right had been violated.
The CBI in an affidavit filed before the High Court mentioned that the case registered with the Parvalia Sadak police station was not included in the list of cases submitted to Portugal.
“If the petitioner is tried for an offence which was committed prior to the date of making a request for extradition then it will violate the fundamental right of the petitioner and will not be justifiable on the touchstone of Article 14 of the Constitution of India,” the court order said.