Abu Salem need not be extradited back to Portugal

New Delhi: Underworld don Abu Salem need not be extradited back to Portugal despite its Constitutional Court rejecting India?s plea challenging the order of its Supreme Court cancelling his extradition. Portugal`s top court–the Constitutional Court– has observed that India was not obliged to extradite the gangster back to the European country after it was held there was violation of deportation rules by Indian authorities.

Official sources here today explained the position on the extradition status of Salem against the backdrop of the top court rejecting India`s plea challenging a Supreme Court verdict upholding a lower court order cancelling his extradition to this country. According to the sources, the Constitutional Court`s Judges have made it clear that the judgement of lower court which acknowledged violation of extradition treaty does not, by itself, oblige India to render Salem back to Portugal. The lower court had cancelled the extradition over violation of deportation rules by India.

CBI officials and MEA officials who have been in constant touch with their lawyers in Portugal feel there is no legal consequences for the violation of principle of speciality and the political and diplomatic instances would have to be launched by India to "find the best solution". "A possible negotiation with the Portuguese government concerning the next steps of the case is not bound by any strict guidelines, neither defined by (Portugal) law," a legal opinion received from Portugal said.

It was felt that Ministry of External Affairs should submit a fresh guarantee reiterating the earlier commitment regarding non-execution of the death penalty or life imprisonment not exceeding 25 years. The legal opinion of Portugal also suggested that for any fresh charges slapped on the gangster, he will be pardoned, the sources said.