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'I am single,' Monica Bedi tells court

The starlet seems to be distancing herself from her 'husband' Abu Salem.

india Updated: Nov 24, 2005 19:02 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

In an attempt to distance herself from mobster and her 'husband' Abu Salem, starlet Monica Bedi on Saturday told a special court here that she was unmarried.

Bedi was produced before the court on completion of the two-day Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody and was sent back to the Chanchalguda Women's Prison. She will remain in judicial custody till November 25.

She was extradited and brought to India from Portugal last week along with Salem, one of India's most wanted criminal who is accused to have masterminded the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts that claimed 257 lives. She faces charges of passport forgery in two cases.

During her brief appearance in the court she gave a new twist to the case.

When Judge CV Subramanyam asked her name, she replied: "Monica Bedi,". When asked her husband's name, she said: "I am single."

Her lawyers opposed a memo filed by the CBI seeking her specimen signatures. The court asked the defence to file a counter.

During her interrogation, Bedi had reportedly told CBI sleuths that she had no knowledge of the forged passport. The CBI memo is aimed at establishing that the signatures on the forged passport were indeed those of Bedi.

Bedi's lawyer Babu Rao said he requested the judge to permit him to speak to her in court premises for five minutes. "The judge denied the permission on security grounds and asked us to approach the jail superintendent for the permission to meet her," he said. "We will file the counter after talking to her," said Babu Rao.

The CBI hopes to extract from her key information about Salem and his activities. The investigating agency had earlier quizzed her immediately after bringing her here from Mumbai on a transit remand November 11.

The special court November 12 had remanded her in judicial custody for two weeks.

On November 17, the judge had remanded her in CBI custody for two-days and directed the agency not to use coercive methods to extract information.

The judge had also ordered that she be produced in the court on the completion of the remand period.

Bedi, Salem and his first wife Sameera Jumani had secured passports from the Regional Passport Office (RPO), Hyderabad, under fictitious names and fake addresses in Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh in August 2001.

The passports were issued in 2001 but the fraud was detected in February 2002 when the Intelligence Bureau got a tip that Salem and Bedi used these passports during a trip to Dubai.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh police have also filed a petition before the Special Court seeking her custody in passport forgery case.

A court in Bhopal Friday had issued a production warrant against Bedi. The court ordered that she be produced on November 26.

First Published: Nov 19, 2005 18:58 IST