A Delhi court, on Monday, heard the bail plea of extradited gangster Abu Salem in a 12-year-old case of alleged extortion in which he has sought his release on the statutory ground that he has been in jail for more than the prescribed sentence for the offence.
'The accused deserved to be released on bail on this ground alone that he has spent more than three years in jail, which is more than the prescribed punishment for the offence of extortion,' Arvind Shukla, appearing for Salem, told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kiran Bansal.
'The section 436A of the CrPC has been inserted for granting bail to an accused who has completed half of maximum period of imprisonment specified under the law,' he said. The plea was, however, opposed by public prosecutor Rajeev Mohan saying Salem, along with co-accused Romesh Sharma, alleged front-man of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, is also booked under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC.
The ACMM then listed the matter for further hearing on July 17 saying the case records are with a sessions court which is hearing a revision petition of co-accused Sharma.
Sharma had challenged the ACMM's order by which his right to examine witnesses in defence has been closed. They have been made accused in an FIR lodged at Hauz Khas police station in 1998 under 384 (extortion) and 120B (conspiracy) of IPC.
Salem had allegedly made threat calls to businessmen Vinay Kumar Singh and Malkiyat Singh in 1998. He had also threatened some employees of a company. Sharma used to provide information to Salem on phone regarding the potential targets, police said.
Meanwhile, a court of Additional Sessions Judge Pinki recorded the statement of a senior scientific officer who had examined the alleged taped conversation of Salem and the victims in another extortion case.
According to the police, Salem had in 2003 allegedly made threat calls to businessman Ashok Gupta, a resident of Greater Kailash in New Delhi, to extort ₹five crore as protection money from him. The police had recorded some of the alleged telephonic calls.
A separate court at Tis Hazari, hearing another case of alleged extortion, adjourned the proceedings to July 17 after issuing bailable warrants against two witnesses as they failed to appear before it without any intimation.