Why Abu Salem Escaped Death Penalty? Here Is The Actual Reason

4:09 pm 8 Sep, 2017


It has been 24 years since 12 blasts ripped apart Mumbai killing 257 people and leaving more than 700 injured. Finally, the wait for justice is over. A special TADA court sentenced two of the convicted to life imprisonment, including Abu Salem, and two received death penalty, whereas a fifth was handed 10 years of prison.


Mumbai (then Bombay) was ripped apart by a series of blasts on March 13, 1993. Indian Express

Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan and Tahir Merchant received the death penalty for their involvement in the blasts, while Karimullah Khan and Abu Salem were given life imprisonment.

The big question that everyone has been asking is why Salem escaped the noose.


Salem escaped death penalty because of an extradition treaty with Portugal. This may appear like injustice but the Indian government at that time had to commit that Salem will receive death sentence, or he would not be imprisoned for more than 25 years.


A file photo of Abu Salem. India Live Today

If the TADA court decided to give the notorious gangster a 25-year sentence, then there would have been no other option but to release Salem in another 13 years as he remained in custody since 2005 following extradition to India.

Despite the agreement with Portugal, given the sentiment of common people, special Judge G.A. Sanap decided to slap Salem with life imprisonment. While addressing the media CBI counsel D.A. Salvi revealed that only the government has the option to commute Salem’s life imprisonment to a shorter jail sentence. “Unless the government reduces the term, he would serve a life imprisonment,” added Salvi.

Life imprisonment sentence means Salem has to serve jail sentence until his death. Another possibility is Salem now has the option to appeal in the Portugal Supreme Court for re-extradition due to the treaty violation.


Abu Salem’s lawyers claimed they would file an appeal against the verdict in the Supreme Court.

He was charged with transporting the arms and ammunition used in the Mumbai serial blasts in 1993 to key parts of the economic city of India and for also supplying arms to Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt. It was proven after CBI investigations that Salem did this with the help of two other conspirators: Anees Ibrahim, the younger brother of gangster Dawood Ibrahim (regarded as the mastermind of the 1993 blasts), and Mustafa Dossa, another accused in Mumbai blast case.


A complex legal debate can now be expected following Abu Salem’s life imprisonment and this verdict could, in turn, have a significant impact on future extradition treaties.