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Monica Bedi finds jail life tough

Former Bollywood actress and gangster Abu Salem's moll is finding it difficult to adjust to the tough life in prison.

india Updated: Oct 01, 2006 15:51 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

From the glamorous world of cinema and a life of comfort, Monica Bedi—who was a friend of underworld mobster Abu Salem—is finding it difficult to adjust to the tough life in prison.

Bedi was on Friday sentenced to five years imprisonment for getting a passport under a fictitious name.

According to sources in Chanchalguda women's prison, where Bedi is lodged, she was mainly quiet and appeared to be depressed.

The facilities she had been enjoying while the trial was on, ever since she was lodged there after her extradition from Portugal along with Abu Salem in November 2005, have been withdrawn.

She was enrolled as "prisoner number 103" after the special Central Buro of Investigation (CBI) court on Friday convicted and sentenced her.

The designer dresses that she has been wearing during the past 10 months of the trial have been replaced with white saris and blouses. When asked to choose between white saris and salwar suits, in accordance with jail rules, Bedi is reported to have picked up three pairs of saris and blouses.

Bedi was shifted to one of the barracks meant for convicts late on Friday following the court verdict, said a jail official.

The jail has 330 prisoners. Bedi is sharing the barrack with 22 prisoners.

The first day was a difficult one for Bedi, who initially refused to select any of the several trades meant for daily avocation. She was told by jail authorities that like all other prisoners she would have to work in any of the units making incense sticks, candles and tooth powder or take to tailoring. Each prisoner earns Rs 10-15 a day by working in these units.

Bedi, who was in an agitated mood over the court verdict, began mingling with other prisoners by late Saturday. She was reportedly counselled by jail officials and advised by fellow prisoners not to worry too much as she had the option of appealing against the court verdict.

As an undertrial prisoner, Bedi enjoyed her favourite food and wore trendy clothes. Now she would no longer have access to television.

But Bedi is free to buy food from the jail canteen from the money she earns from her daily work.

The jail authorities hope Bedi would soon adjust to the life of a convict. She had been in a similar state of mind when she arrived in the prison the first time.

Bedi was convicted for obtaining a passport from the Regional Passport Office, Hyderabad, in 2001 by giving a fictitious name and address. She has announced her plans to challenge the court verdict. She has also taken exception to the media describing her as the girlfriend of Abu Salem and said she was single.

Bedi, who acted in a few Hindi and south Indian films, belongs to Chabbewal village near Hoshiarpur in Punjab. Her father Prem Bedi, a businessman settled in Norway for nearly three decades, met her in jail in March. He had said then that his daughter was innocent and had been misled by Abu Salem.

The London-educated Bedi started acting in 'B' grade Hindi movies in mid-1990s. It was during the production of one movie that she met Abu Salem, who reportedly recommended her name to a few producers.

First Published: Oct 01, 2006 15:24 IST