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Prime Suspect in 1993 Bombay Bomb Blasts Extradited to India

A prime suspect in a wave of bomb blasts that hit Bombay in 1993 has been extradited to India from Portugal. Abu Salem is one of India's most wanted men.

Abu Salem was ordered held by the police after appearing in a special court in Bombay on Friday. He was brought to India on Thursday following his extradition from Portugal.

Indian authorities say Abu Salem, along with an associate, Dawood Ibrahim, planned a series of explosions that ripped through Bombay in 1993, killing more than 250 people and injuring hundreds more.

It was India's deadliest terrorist attack, and was believed to be in retaliation for religious riots that killed hundreds of Muslims earlier that year in Bombay.

Mr. Salem fled the country after the bombings. He and his wife, Monica Bedi, were arrested in Portugal in 2002 for possession of forged documents.

Since then, India has waged a battle for his custody. The head of the Central Bureau of Investigation, D.K. Misra, says Portugal extradited him only after Indian authorities promised not to execute him or his wife if they are convicted.

"This undertaking has been given by the government of India that Abu Salem or Monica Bedi would not be visited by [would not receive the] death penalty," said D.K. Misra.

Portugal, a member of the European Union, forbids the extradition of suspects if they might face the death penalty.

Indian officials called the extradition a breakthrough for international cooperation in fighting terrorism.

A government prosecutor says Abu Salem will face charges of committing a terrorist act against the country, criminal conspiracy, and supply of arms and ammunition.

Before his flight from the country, Mr. Salem was one of the Indian underworld's most dreaded figures. Indian officials say he is also a suspect in several high profile cases involving Bombay film producers and actors, including murders, extortion and kidnapping.

The authorities are hoping he will provide information on other men on India's most wanted list, particularly Dawood Ibrahim, who Indian officials say is hiding in Pakistan. Pakistan says he is not there.