A special anti-terrorist court on Thursday sentenced 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Abu Salem to Life imprisonment. Apart from Salem Tahir Merchant and Feroze Abdul Rashid Khan were sentenced to death.
But Abu Salem, who was extradited to India in 2005 from Portugal, may not have to spend his entire life in jail. The dreaded gangster and a close aide to Dawood, skipped the death penalty because India, at the time of his extradition, guaranteed Portugal that he will not be given the death sentence.
"The court has given him the life sentence and life sentence in Indian law means life until death. But while bringing him from Portugal, the government of India has given an undertaking that he will not undergo a sentence of more than 25 years," said Deepak Salvi, public prosecutor.
"The government will have to pass an order and only if an order is passed, his sentence can be commuted to a lesser term," he added.
A special TADA court had in June convicted six persons, including mastermind Mustafa Dossa and Salem, in the serial blasts case, 24 years after the attacks left 257 people dead in the country’s financial capital.
It, however, let off accused Abdul Quayyum, for want of evidence. This was the second leg of the trial.
All the seven accused were facing multiple charges which included criminal conspiracy, waging war against the Government of India and murder.