Court frames extortion charges against Abu Salem


New Delhi : A city court Tuesday framed charges of extortion and criminal conspiracy against gangster Abu Salem for allegedly making threatening calls to a Delhi-based businessman and demanding Rs.10 million seven years ago.

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Salem was brought to the capital from Bhopal amid tight security and was presented before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja, who framed criminal charges against the extradited gangster.

Salem was booked for making threatening calls to Rajat Nagrath, owner of Delhi-based Allied Communication, and demanding money from him in 2002.

The prosecution said the forensic reports of the intercepted calls of Salem were sufficient ground for his trial.

However, Arvind Shukla, counsel for Salem, claimed the evidence was insufficient to frame charges against the accused.

The court after hearing arguments of both sides, ordered the trial of Salem under Sections 387 (extortion), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

Salem also moved a bail application before the court, which has been listed for hearing July 14.

The trial against Salem is to begin from July 21 with the recording of statements of the witnesses in the case.

Three other accused – C.P. Rai, Istiyaq Ahmed and Sadiq Aliin – have already been charged in the case in 2003.

The court had on May 30 issued a fresh warrant against Salem following the Mumbai police’s failure to bring him here.

Earlier also on many occasions the Arthur Road Jail authorities in Mumbai failed to present Salem before a judge in Delhi.

The last time Salem appeared in a Delhi court was on Nov 26 last year. He has been lodged in the Mumbai jail since his extradition from Portugal in 2005. He is convicted in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case and the 1997 murder of music baron Gulshan Kumar.

Salem is facing trial in eight cases, including for two murders, and his appeal in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case is also being heard.