The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday told a New Delhi court that it had no option but to agree to Portugal's insistence for extradition of underworld don Abu Salem instead of his deportation.
Had Salem been deported as opposed to being extradited, there wouldn't have been any restriction on the number of cases in which he could be tried and the quantum of sentence.
"The Centre had tried to get Abu Salem Ansari, who was found carrying fake travel documents there, deported but the Portuguese authorities declined making it clear that he could only be extradited," A K Vali, appearing for the CBI Director, submitted before Additional Sessions Judge Pinky.
Taking note of the Delhi Police arguments that the CBI's action to extradite Salem forced them to approach the court for dropping the MCOCA charges against him, the court on July 5 had issued notice to the CBI director to clarify the stand of the probe agency.
"Salem, who was holding a Pakistani passport, could have been deported to any country (either to Pakistan or the nation from where he illegally entered Portugal) after his arrest.
The intention was to ensure that he should not escape our law," said Vali, justifying the Centre's move.
The then NDA government had given an executive assurance to Portugal that after Salem's extradition he would be tried only in nine cases and will not be awarded imprisonment exceeding 25 years.
In Portugal there is no death penalty and hence, it ensures that the persons detained there should not be deported to a country having provisions to award the extreme penalty, the CBI counsel said.
The CBI, which coordinates with the Interpol, was intimated about the detention of Salem and Monica Bedi in 2005 and it immediately swung into action and attempted to get them deported, he said.