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Sunday, 22 September, 2002, 09:11 GMT 10:11 UK
India goes after crime boss
Bombay bomb damage
Abu Salem is wanted for bombings in Bombay
India has asked the Portuguese authorities to hand over one of its most wanted men, Bombay crime boss Abu Salem.

Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani said a letter had been sent to the Portuguese authorities and Interpol requesting the 41-year-old's deportation.

I hope...Salem would be brought back and tried for the crimes he has committed

LK Advani,
Indian deputy PM
He is being held in Lisbon on charges of carrying false travel documents.

India's ambassador in Lisbon, Madhu Bhaduri, has meanwhile denied reports that Portugal has refused to hand over Salem.

She told the BBC that no such development has taken place.

Abu Salem, also known as Abu Saleem Ansari, is accused of helping orchestrate a wave of bombings in Bombay in 1993 in which more than 250 people died.

He is also wanted in numerous cases of murder, extortion and kidnapping.

Mr Advani gave assurances that Abu Salem would not face the death penalty in India - capital punishment is banned by European Union countries.

"In this case, it is possible and Indian law permits that the necessary assurance may be given to the concerned government," Mr Advani told reporters in the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar.

Indian officials say they are confident that Portugal will hand over Mr Salem.

"The situation in the world is such that wherever terrorists are present, and wherever laws are broken, everyone all over the world is united. I do not see any problem," the Indian ambassador in Lisbon said.

Court appearance

India's Central Bureau of Investigation says it will send a team to Lisbon as soon as possible to try to secure Abu Salem's deportation.

Bollywood film set
Bollywood faces constant mafia threats
The CBI's joint director, Ashwini Kumar, said photographs and fingerprints of Abu Salem, sent to Lisbon after an Interpol tip-off, had helped in the arrest.

"It [extradition] is possible through diplomatic channels and the legal process even without an extradition treaty," he told a news conference in Delhi.

"He will be there in judicial custody for 90 days."

Abu Salem and his companion, Bombay actress Monica Bedi, were arrested on Wednesday. He has since been produced in court, Indian diplomats in Lisbon say.

Reports say another wanted Indian, Syed Haider, may also have been arrested.

Independent operator

As well as being wanted for the bombings, Abu Salem is a suspect in a series of high-profile killings that have rocked Bombay's movie world.

These include the murder of top Bollywood music producer Gulshan Kumar in 1997.

Abu Salem fled India in the 1990s and settled in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates where he was arrested last year.

He was released on bail when Delhi failed to produce sufficient evidence to persuade police to hand him over.

Abu Salem, once considered a close aide to Dawood Ibrahim, India's most-wanted man, is now believed to be operating independently.

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