Trial by video-conferencing not fair: Abu Salem

NEW DELHI - Extradited gangster Abu Salem, facing charges of extortion, Wednesday told a city court that conducting his trial by video-conferencing was not fair and it would violate his extradition conditions.

At the time of his extradition in 2005, it was clearly mentioned in the terms and conditions that he would be tried in person (in his physical presence), Arvind Kumar Shukla, counsel for Salem, told the court.

The right to a fair trial of the accused would also be affected if the proceedings were conducted without his physical presence, he said, adding that similar efforts to conduct his trial in other cases in Lucknow and Hyderabad did not bear fruit and had to be aborted.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja, however, assured Salem of a fair trial.

Delhi Police too argued that the proceedings conducted through video-conferencing would not prejudice his right in any manner.

Prosecutor Rajeev Mohan said that shuttling the accused between Mumbai and Delhi on every date to ensure his presence caused losses to the government and also created a security threat.

The court gave the prosecution time till Aug 27 to file a detailed reply on Salem’s plea opposing video-conferencing.

Salem has been charged under Section 387 (putting a person under threat of death to commit extortion), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 385 (putting a person under fear of injury to commit extortion) of the Indian Penal Code.


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