Court rejects Abu Salem's plea on deposition of witness

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Mumbai, Apr 30 (UNI) The designated TADA court today rejected extradited gangster Abu Salem's plea, challenging the deposition of one of the witnesses--a public relations officer in the passport office at Lucknow--in the separate 1993 serial bomb blasts case.

While rejecting the plea, TADA Judge P D Kode, in his order, held that as per the Indian Evidences Act, the deposition of the witness in the case was relevant to the trial, as the accused was absconding before he was extradited from Portugal on November 11, 2005.

The court also recorded the statement of the witness, wherein he confirmed that the passport issued to Salem was signed by him.

However, he stated that he had not seen him personally as it was not included in discharge of his duties.

Both the prosecution and defence asked various questions to the witness during his deposition regarding the issuance of the passport.

His deposition was concluded today. He was the second witness to depose in Salem's trial. Earlier, the court had examined an immigration officer, who had cleard the immigration of Salem on his arrival in India.

On April 25, Salem had moved the plea, through his lawyer Sudeep Pasbola, stating that the deposition of the witness was irrelevant to the case as his passport was issued to him after the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai.

Earlier, when the CBI wanted the witness to be examined by the court, Salem had objected to it, following which his deposition was deferred.

Salem is facing charges under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) act for his involvement in the blasts and also for his role in supplying deadly arms and ammunition to the various accused, including Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who was earlier convicted by the court and released on bail by the apex court.

Dutt, in his confessional statement, had stated that Salem and his associates delivered the weapons to him at his residence.

The prosecution is relying on Dutt's confessional statement and the same will be used against Salem as a vital piece of evidence.

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