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Fake passport case: Monica Bedi aquitted by Bhopal court

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 16, 2007 18:27 IST
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A Bhopal court on Monday acquitted underworld don Abu Salem's companion Monica Bedi and another accused in a fake passport case.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Ajay Shrivastava acquitted Monica and Abdul Kabeer of charges under various sections of IPC and the Indian Passport Act on the basis of lack of evidence.

The prosecution has not been able to provide concrete evidence, the judge said while pronouncing the decision.

An apparently relieved Monica virtually smiled for the first time after the verdict was announced.

"She said it was unimaginable. She was depressed and lost before the verdict was pronounced. It came as a shock to her and to me too," Monica's counsel P C Bedi told reporters outside the courtroom.

"We have been always maintaining the stand that charges against her were not justified," the defence lawyer, who had refrained from producing a single witness but had been countering charges by the prosecution, said.

Monica, along with Abu Salem, his wife Sameera Jumani and two others were booked in 2001 for procuring passports on basis of fake documents.

Monica, who will be taken to Hyderabad from where she was brought to Bhopal on production warrant last year, was accused of procuring the passport in the name of Faujia Usmani.

Monica and Salem were extradited from Portugal before she was convicted by a Hyderabad court in similar fake passport case.

Monica will be taken to Hyderabad where a bail bond will be furnished in a day or two, in view of the Supreme Court granting her relief in the fake passport case in which she was convicted by a court there, P C Bedi said to a query by reporters.

Claiming that he lacked words to express his feelings, Monica's counsel said the judge found that prosecution had failed to establish the charges that she had applied for the passport in the name of Faujia Usmani and had been present in Bhopal physically for verification procedures of the travel document.

The prosecution had earlier alleged that Monica and Salem had arrived in Bhopal from Nepal for verification of the passports in the names of Faujia and Danish Baig respectively.

Sameera Jumani's passport was allegedly procured in the name of Sameena Baig.

While Salem was yet to be produced before the court, Sameera was still at large.

The former Bollywood actress, who had been lodged at the Central Jail in Bhopal for nearly 10 months, had been teaching dance and yoga to other female inmates inside the prison, her lawyer claimed.

"She is an artist. After this, she will definitely pursue her career in films," P C Bedi said.

He claimed that Monica has denied reports of closed-circuit cameras installed in her prison cell and described such reports as "ficticious".

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