Mah Govt to drop stringent MCOCA charges against Salem

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Mumbai, Oct 3 (UNI) Special Public Prosecutor Jimmy Madan today told the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court that the state government has decided to drop the sections of the stringent act against extradited underworld don Abu Salem and will file an application by October 10 about the same in the court.

Salem had moved an application before MCOCA court Judge R G Avchat following the Bombay High Court direction recently to approach the trial court.

When the matter came up for hearing, Mr Madan told the court that the government has already decided to drop the charges under the MCOCA and by October 10 the government will file an application in this regard in the court.

Earlier, Salem had made an application in the High Court, contending that charging him under the Act was violation of the extradition treaty.

The state government last Monday informed the High Court that charges under the stringent MCOCA against gangster Abu Salem will be dropped in two weeks' time.

Salem, who was extradited from Portugal in 2005, has three criminal trials pending against him. The murder case of actor Manisha Koirala's secretary Ajit Dewani, murder of builder Pradeep Jain and 1993 serial blasts trial under TADA in Mumbai.

Salem, who will now be tried only for offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), may perhaps have better chances of getting bail after the MCOCA charges have been dropped.

Dewani, the former secretary of actors Manisha Koirala and Aftab Shivdasani, was shot dead in his Lokhandwala office in June 2001 by two men allegedly at the behest of Salem.

Apart from Salem, seven other accused were arrested by the police for their alleged involvement in the murder. However, one of them fled from police custody. The trial in the case, however, is yet to begin.

UNI ST-GS SSS SY GC1921

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