A CBI court in Hyderabad sentenced Monica Bedi, the starlet-girlfriend of underworld don Abu Salem, to rigorous imprisonment for five years in a passport forgery case. She will also have to pay a fine of Rs 1,000.
Bedi has been convicted of impersonation, cheating and conspiracy for procuring a passport from the Hyderabad Regional Passport Office in 2001 on a fictitious name and address.
Three other accused have been convicted for three years for helping Bedi get the passport. The court imposed a fine of Rs 500 on each of them. Two persons were acquitted due to lack of evidence.
The charge against Bedi was that she secured a passport from the RPO, Hyderabad, in the name of Sana Malik Kamal on September 20, 2001. She faked her residential address as H. No. 10/102 B, Babu Goundar Street, Kurnool, and her year of birth as 1974. She claimed to have studied up to class six at the Sri Hanuman Higher Elementary School in Kurnool.
S.A. Sattar, then assistant sub-inspector in Kurnool's crime records bureau; Mohammed Younis, then senior assistant in the Kurnool mandal revenue office; and D. Gokari Saheb, then postman in the Speed Post wing of the Kurnool post office, were pronounced guilty. Two others - Noor Mohammed, passport agent, and G. Srinivasa Rao, then a typist in the district planning office at Kurnool -- were acquitted on grounds of lack of evidence.
Bedi, who acted in a few Hindi movies, was extradited along with Abu Salem from Portugal on November 11 last year. She was brought to Hyderabad for her trial in the passport forgery case. Except for a brief visit to Bhopal to appear in court in another case, she has been at the State Prison for Women at Chanchalguda in Hyderabad.
Senior public prosecutor Ramana said that since Bedi has already been in jail for the last 10 months, she will now be in jail for four years and two months. After special judge R. Damodar pronounced the judgment, Bedi said she would appeal against the order. Bedi has another passport forgery case pending against her in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.