Abu Salem to stay in police custody till June 1


New Delhi : Alleged mobster Abu Salem, the prime accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, would stay in Delhi Police custody till June 1 as it is probing a third case of extortion registered against him here, a local court ruled Monday.

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Salem was extradited from Portugal last year and lodged in a Mumbai jail.

He was brought to the capital last week and remanded in police custody till Monday in two cases in which he had attempted to extort Rs.60 million from two businessmen.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Seema Maini extended his remand by four days Monday after the police said they were probing a case in which Salem is alleged to have extorted Rs.500,000 from Delhi-based businessman Vinay Singh at the behest of fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim's Delhi-based front man Romesh Sharma.

Maini also allowed Salem to meet his legal counsel for 15 minutes in the presence of the officer who is investigating the case.

Additional Solicitor General Vikas Singh told the court that the police had in 1999 recovered from Sharma a cheque for Rs.500,000 issued by Vinay Singh.

He said the businessman had given the cheque to Sharma after Salem made threatening calls to him at Sharma's behest.

According to Vikas Singh, the police had even recorded a telephone conversation between Salem and Sharma following the recovery of the cheque and the police now needed to record Salem's voice to further its probe into the case.

Sharma had hit the headlines in 1999 for illegally seizing a helicopter from a top corporate executive and parking it in his country villa at Chattarpur in south Delhi. He was sentenced to five years in jail earlier this month for illegal foreign exchange deals worth $345,000.

While sentencing Sharma May 8, Additional Chief Metropolitan magistrate Kamini Lau had also fined him Rs.6.1 million.