India court jails feared gangster for life over murder

A Mumbai court on Wednesday, Feb 25, 2015, sentenced Abu Salem, once one of India's most feared gangsters, to life in prison for the murder of a builder two decades ago. -- PHOTO: THE STATESMAN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
A Mumbai court on Wednesday, Feb 25, 2015, sentenced Abu Salem, once one of India's most feared gangsters, to life in prison for the murder of a builder two decades ago. -- PHOTO: THE STATESMAN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MUMBAI (AFP) - A Mumbai court on Wednesday sentenced Abu Salem, once one of India's most feared gangsters, to life in prison for the murder of a builder two decades ago.

The court handed down the sentence after convicting Salem earlier in February over the killing of builder Pradeep Jain in 1995 in a property dispute, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported.

Salem is also one of the prime suspects in the 1993 bomb blasts in India's financial capital that left 257 dead.

"Abu Salem is sentenced to life imprisonment for the offences of murder and criminal conspiracy," said Judge G.A. Sanap while reading out the verdict, according to PTI.

Salem went on the run after the 1993 attacks, but was extradited from Portugal in 2005 after three years of legal battles.

India assured Lisbon that he would not be sentenced to death and the underworld don has been in prison since his extradition, facing a host of criminal cases.

He is a former associate of Dawood Ibrahim, India's most wanted criminal who allegedly masterminded the 1993 blasts and who is accused of drug trafficking and other crimes.