A special TADA court on Monday said it will announce the quantum of punishment for hooligan Abu Salem and on Wednesday. The three of them were convicted last week for the murder of builder Pradeep Jain in 1995.
While closing final arguments on the quantum of sentence, defence lawyer Sudeep Pasbola told the court that the crime committed by Salem did not fall in the category of the rarest of rare. Pasbola also produced several judgements to show that crimes of this gravity were given punishments of less than 20 years.
While Salem’s sentence would ideally be calculated from the time he was extradited from Portugal to India in 2005, the defence argued that Salem’s sentence should be calculated from the time the application was made to a Portugal court for his extradition.
According to the extradition treaty signed with the Portuguese government, Salem cannot be sentenced to more than 25 years of imprisonment. While the prosecution led by special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had demanded the death sentence for both Salem and Mehndi Hasan, it conceded on Friday following the defence argument that the death sentence could not be given and asked for life imprisonment for Salem.
The prosecution had justified the change in stance by saying that when the death sentence was demanded, Portugal’s law books were not on record. Death penalty cannot be awarded according to Portuguese law.
“The state of Maharashtra was not a part of the extradition treaty signed with Portugal and the central government, but I accept the defence’s submission where Portuguese law is concerned,” said Nikam. MMB