New Delhi: India is all set to approach the Constitutional Court of Portugal challenging the decision of that country's Supreme Court which recently confirmed the decision to terminate the extradition of fugitive underworld don Abu Salem to face trial in various cases.

On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court refused to entertain the Delhi Police plea seeking withdrawal of stringent charges slapped on underworld don Abu Salem under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

The matter was placed before the single bench of Justice Mukta Gupta as the Judge looking into the case was on leave. Justice Mukta Gupta refused to hear the matter saying that she had once appeared before the High Court as a lawyer in a connected case against Salem and referred this matter to be listed before some other bench.

However, MS Khan, counsel for Salem, told the court that he has no objection whatsoever if the bench hears and decides the plea of the Delhi Police.

Haren Raval, Additional Solicitor General (ASG), who was representing the Delhi Police, told the court that there is an urgent need of hearing the petition seeking withdrawal of stringent charges under the MCOCA as the Supreme Court of Portugal had recently rejected India's appeal and upheld the decision of the High Court of that country terminating the extradition of Salem. The Delhi Police had then moved the Delhi High Court seeking withdrawal of MCOCA charges against Salem.

Further, Haren Raval told Justice Gupta that the whole extradition process is in jeopardy. The CBI is going before the Constitutional Court of Portugal against the decision of the Supreme Court of that country.

“The Supreme Court of Portugal had recently rejected India's appeal and upheld the decision of a high court of that country terminating the extradition of Salem,” Raval said.

Earlier, the Delhi Police slapped charges on Salem under the MCOCA. Later in 2009, MS Khan challenged the Delhi Police decision to impose MCOCA on Salem in the Delhi High Court. The charges attracted death penalty.

The matter is now posted for hearing on January 31.

46-year-old Salem, a key accused in 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, and his girl friend Monica Bedi were extradited to India on November 11, 2005, after a marathon legal process in Portugal lasting three years.

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

(JPN/Bureau)