MUMBAI: The special TADA court here today sentenced extradited gangster Abu Salem to life imprisonment in the builder Pradeep Jain killing case of 1995 on the charge of murder and criminal conspiracy.
Judge G A Sanap said that the court had to apply the law, while the government can exercise its power in the matter of execution of sentence.
"I have to apply the provisions of the law. The Union of India in its domain, particularly the executive in their wisdom, would be free to exercise its power in the matter of execution of the sentence," observed the court.
During the arguments, defence lawyer Sudeep Pasbola had said that as per the extradition treaty with Portugal, Salem cannot be given capital punishment or a jail term exceeding 25 years.
However, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had argued that the executive assurance (to another country) doesn't bind the judicial pronouncement; the government will discharge its executive assurance at the appropriate time.
"It is a very ticklish issue...(since) pride and prestige of our country is involved, if any decision is taken contrary to the spirit of the Indian laws and the spirit of the solemn sovereign assurance given by the then Deputy Prime Minister of India, then very serious repercussions could follow," said the court.
The judge then held that the assurance given by the Union Government would not stand in the way of the court to exercise its power and award the punishment under the law.