SC refuses bail to gangster Abu Salem in 1995 Pradeep Jain murder case

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to grant bail to extradited gangster Abu Salem serving life imprisonment in the 1995 murder case of Mumbai-based builder Pradeep Jain. A bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said, “This is an application filed on behalf of the applicant/appellant seeking bail during the pendency of the appeal. Having heard counsel for the parties and carefully perusing the averments made in the application, we are not inclined to grant bail to the applicant/appellant”.

The bench, however, taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case, directed the Registry to list his appeals against the February 25, 2015 verdict of the special TADA court, for final disposal in the third week of November 2021.

On February 25, 2015, the special TADA court had awarded Salem life imprisonment for murdering the builder, along with his driver Mehndi Hassan.

Another accused in the case Virendra Jhamb’s sentence was set off against the period of detention undergone by him in prison during the various stages of investigation in the case.

According to police, on March 7, 1995, Jain was shot dead by assailants outside his Juhu bungalow after he allegedly refused to part with his huge property to Salem.

While one other accused Naeem Khan had turned approver, another accused Riyaz Siddiqui, who had also become approver, later turned hostile in the court. The trial of Siddiqui was later separated.

The court, in January 2014 had dropped some charges against Salem in the case on the request of prosecution which said that some changes need to be withdrawn to maintain cordial relations between two sovereign countries – India and Portugal.

Salem, also a convict in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, was extradited from Portugal on November 11, 2005, after a prolonged legal battle.

The Supreme Court of Portugal, in 2012, had dismissed an appeal of the CBI which had challenged the termination of his extradition.

In June 2012, Salem was shot at in Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai allegedly by gangster Devendra Jagtap alias JD, an accused in the murder case of advocate Shahid Azmi who had represented a 26/11 Mumbai attack accused.

In June 2017 Salem was convicted and later awarded a life sentence for his role in the 1993 serial blast case in Mumbai.

Salem was found guilty of transporting weapons from Gujarat to Mumbai ahead of the blasts.

On March 12, 1993, the country’s commercial capital had witnessed an unprecedented attack with a series of 12 bomb explosions that took place one after another in about two hours.

The dastardly attacks had left 257 dead, 713 persons seriously injured, and destroyed properties worth crores.

In 2020, a Portugal court has dismissed a plea of Salem claiming that the Indian government had violated the condition of his extradition.