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Soon, Monica Bedi may be out of jail

A Bhopal court on Monday acquitted underworld don Abu Salem’s companion Monica Bedi in a fake passport case, reports Ashutosh Shukla.
Hindustan Times | By Ashutosh Shukla, Bhopal
UPDATED ON JUL 17, 2007 03:38 AM IST

Almost five years after her arrest in Portugal, a Bhopal court on Monday acquitted underworld don Abu Salem’s companion Monica Bedi in a fake passport case.

In the next few days, Monica may walk out of jail with Supreme Court-imposed conditions. Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Ajay Shrivastava acquitted Monica Bedi, Salem’s estranged friend Siraj and his brother Kabir of all the charges of forgery under sections 420, 467, 471 and 12 of the Passport Act.

In his 62-page judgement, the CJM observed that the prosecution failed to establish any of the charges it levelled against the accused.

Monica was facing two passport forgery cases — one in Hyderabad and the other in Bhopal. In a Hyderabad court she was convicted and given a three-year sentence. However, she went in appeal and the Supreme Court suspended her sentence and granted her bail.

But she could not execute the bail bond as she was facing another passport forgery case in Bhopal. She will now be taken to Hyderabad as she was brought to Bhopal on a production warrant. Now that she has been acquitted, she will execute the bail bond in the Hyderabad case. Only then she can walk free.

The Bhopal case was registered on November 28, 2001, at the Koh-E-Fiza police station against Abu Salem, his wife Samira and Monica for having fake passports made at the Regional Passport Office using the names Danish Baig, Rubina Baig and Fauzia Osman, respectively. Subsequently, the CBI registered a case against her for possessing a passport from Hyderabad on forged documents in the name of Sana Malik. Monica said: “I am delighted. I had always maintained that fabricated evidence were being produced to falsely implicate me”, she told the Hindustan Times.

Monica’s lawyer Santosh Verma told HT that her father P.K. Bedi has already left Norway for India. “He is expected to land at Bhopal in a couple of days and from here, both Monica and her father will go to Hyderabad,” he said.

Monica was granted bail by the apex court in a similar case in which she was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment by the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

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