The Special Court for CBI Cases on Friday convicted Monica Bedi, starlet-girlfriend of underworld don Abu Salem, in a passport forgery case and sentenced her to five years rigorous imprisonment. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 on her. Three other accused were also convicted while two others were acquitted.
After the special judge for CBI court R Damodar pronounced the judgement, Monica Bedi told the court "I am aggrieved by the judgement. So, I am going in appeal."
Her counsel S Pradeep Kumar told rediff.com that an appeal against the CBI court verdict would be filed in the Andhra Pradesh High Court."
Senior public prosecutor for CBI cases Ramana said Monica Bedi has been convicted on three counts--under sections 419 (impersonation), 420 (cheating) and 120 (B) (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code -- for procuring a passport from Hyderabad Regional Passport Office in 2001 on a fictitious name and address.
Three other accused have been convicted for three years on charges of cheating (section 420), abetment (section 109) and conspiracy (120 B) under the IPC for helping Monica Bedi in obtaining the passport through fraudulent means. Each of them has been fined a sum of Rs 500.
The charge against Monica Bedi was that she had secured passport (No. B 5802508) from RPO, Hyderabad, in the name of Sana Malik Kamal, on September 20, 2001, furnishing false residential address as H. No. 10/102 B, Babu Goundar Street, Kurnool, and her year of birth as 1974. She claimed to have studied upto sixth standard at Sri Hanuman Higher Elementary School in Kurnool.
S A Sattar, then assistant sub-inspector in Kurnool district crime records bureau, Mohammed Younis, then senior assistant in Kurnool mandal revenue office, and D Gokari Saheb, the then postman in the speedpost wing of Kurnool head post office, were found guilty by the court while two others -- Noor Mohammed, passport agent and G Srinivasa Rao, the then typist in the district planning office at Kurnool -- were acquitted on grounds of lack of evidence.
A former Bollywood actress, Bedi was extradited along with Abu Salem from Portugal. She has been lodged in the State Prison for Women at Chanchalguda in Hyderabad since November 12 last year. After her bail petition was rejected by the CBI special court and her appeal was dismissed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, she had then approached the Supreme Court, which had directed that the case against her be disposed off within two months.
Monica Bedi was convicted for five years under section 420 and for three years each under sections 419 and 120 (B) of the IPC. All the sentences run concurrently.
Senior public prosecutor for CBI Cases pointed out that since Monica Bedi has already been in jail for the last 10 months since her arrest, she would have to undergo imprisonment for four years and two months.
He said that CBI had produced 79 documents and submitted a list of 63 witnesses. In all, 38 witnesses were examined by the court.
There is another passport forgery case pending against Monica Bedi in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Her father Dr Prem Kumar Bedi who lives in Drammen, 45 km from Norwegian capital of Oslo, visited India after she was deported and met her thrice in the State Prison for Women at Chanchalguda. Her uncle Purushottam Lal Bedi, who lives in Hoshiarpur district in Punjab, had also visited her a few times to assure that the family was behind her.