MUMBAI(PTI): A special TADA court here on Monday convicted deported gangster Abu Salemand two other accused in the 1995 murder case of city-based builder Pradeep Jain. This is the first that Salem has been convicted in a case involving him in India after he was deported in 2005.
“Abu Salem has been convicted under section 302 (murder) 120 B (conspiracy) of the IPC and other relevant sections of TADA,” said Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.
Two other accused, who were found guilty, are Virendra Jhamb and Mehndi Hassan.
The prosecution and defence are likely to argue on the quantum of sentence tomorrow. On Friday, the court had reserved its judgement in the case till today.
According to police, on March 7, 1995, Jain was shot dead by assailants outside his Juhu bungalow after he allegedly refused to part with his huge property to Salem.
Salem, another builder Jhamb and Hassan were facing trial in the case. While accused Naeem Khan turned approver, another accused Riyaz Siddiqui, who had also become approver, later turned hostile in the court. Trial of Siddiqui was later separated.
Since the trial began in 2008, the prosecution has so far examined around 25 witnesses in the case while defense examined one witness.
The court, in January last year, had dropped some sections against Salem in the case after the prosecution sought for the same saying that some charges need to be withdrawn in order to maintain cordial relations between two sovereign countries – India and Portugal.
Salem, an accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, was extradited from Portugal on November 11, 2005, after a prolonged legal battle. The Supreme Court of Portugal, in 2012, had dismissed an appeal of the CBI which had challenged termination of his extradition. He has also moved Supreme Court of Portugal seeking directions to the Indian government to execute its order of cancelling his extradition.
In June 2012, Salem was shot at in Taloja Central jail in Navi Mumbai allegedly by gangster Devendra Jagtap alias JD, an accused in the murder case of advocate Shahid Azmi who had represented a 26/11 Mumbai attack accused.