New Delhi: Portugal's Supreme Court has rejected a CBI appeal against a lower court decision which had held that rules have been breached on extradition of underworld don Abu Salem by slapping  new charges that attract even death penalty.

READ MORE: Portugal SC rejects Salem’s extradition

43-year-old Salem, who was extradited to India in 2005, had filed a petition in the High Court in Lisbon alleging violation of Rule of Speciality after which a judgement was pronounced on September 19, last year, saying there had been breach of the Indian undertaking given to the Portuguese authorities.

India had given an 'executive assurance' to Portugal that Salem will not be given death penalty or charged with any section of law which entails jail term of more than 25 years.

The CBI, through Ministry of External Affairs, had filed a plea in the Portuguese Supreme Court contending that it was a matter of interpretation of Rule of Speciality by the highest court of India, which was binding on all subordinate courts in the country, official sources said.

India had argued that the High Court in Lisbon had interpreted the rule differently.

"The Portuguese Supreme Court has upheld the decision of Court of Appeal, Lisbon vide which it had held that there was a breach of Rule of Speciality in the matter of extradition of Abu Salem. There is expected to be no repercussion on status of Abu Salem and on the ongoing trial against him. Trial Courts at Lucknow and Mumbai have rejected his petitions," a CBI spokesperson said here on Tuesday.

She clarified that the Supreme Court, vide its decision dated January 14, has not cancelled the extradition of Salem and it was only a technical point which has been raised.

Meanwhile, Salem has moved a TADA court in Mumbai seeking closure of the trial against him in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, saying continuing it will be illegal.

The TADA court will hear Salem's plea on Wednesday.

The CBI spokesperson said option of filing an appeal before the Constitutional Court in Portugal is available to it and is likely to be exercised.
 
"The issue of 'violation of Rule of Speciality' has been examined at length by the Supreme Court of India on similar petitions filed by Abu Salem in India.

"The Supreme Court through its order dated September 10, 2010 has held that there has been no violation of Rule of Speciality after examining the issues pertaining to Rule of Speciality with reference to and in comparison with extradition laws of the UK, the US and Portugal. Subsequent to this decision, the trial against Abu Salem is continuing on regular basis," she said.

In its appeal, India had said slapping of additional charges on Salem was very much within the ambit of Section 21(b) of Extradition Act, 1962 which states that additional charges could be imposed on an accused if they were of lesser offence under which the person had been extradited.

New Delhi had assured Portugal courts that fresh charges levelled against Salem, a key accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, attracted less jail term than the offences for which he had been extradited, the sources said.

Salem, the prime accused along with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, and his girl friend Monica Bedi, were extradited to India on November 11, 2005, after a legal process in Portugal lasting three years.

The extradition of Salem, who was wanted in various cases including the murder of noted film producer Gulshan Kumar, came after an assurance by Indian government to Portugal that he would not be given death penalty, a key requirement in extradition proceedings in Europe.

(Agencies)