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Monica Bedi to be out on bail in few days

By Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad
July 17, 2007 16:46 IST
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Monica Bedi, Bollywood actress and girlfriend of underworld don Abu Salem, is likely to be released on bail in a few days.

S Pradeep Kumar, her lawyer in Hyderabad, told that Bedi is likely to be brought to Hyderabad from Bhopal on Wednesday.

"She was expected to be brought by the train on Tuesday evening. However, as the authorities have to arrange escort security for her through Railway Protection Force and earmark a compartment in the train for her travel, she is unlikely to arrive in Hyderabad today," he said.

Though Bhopal Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ajay Shrivastava on Monday acquitted Monica Bedi of charges under various sections of Indian Penal Code and Indian Passport in a fake passport case due to lack of evidence, the former starlet faces imprisonment in a similar case in Hyderabad for obtaining a passport by feigning her real identity.

It may be recalled that on September 29, 2006, the Special Court for CBI Cases in Hyderabad had sentenced Bedi to five years rigorous imprisonment.

Special Judge R Damodar had convicted her on three counts -- under Sections 419 (impersonation), 420 (cheating) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) of IPC for procuring a passport from Hyderabad Regional Passport Office in September 2001 on a fictitious name and address.

He had also imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 on her.

Aggrieved by the CBI court's verdict, she had filed an appeal in the Andhra Pradesh high court.

Delivering the judgment on March 8, 2007, Justice B Seshasayana Reddy reduced the jail term of Bedi to three years.

The judge considered her status and age while reducing the jail term and also directed that Bedi's detention period of nine months in Portugal should also be taken into account.

Subsequently, on May 17, the Supreme Court had granted bail to Bedi in connection with the Hyderabad passport forgery case in which she was convicted.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran, had passed the orders pending disposal of her appeal for waiver of the remaining part of her sentence.

Bedi, who will be returning to Hyderabad after her nine-month stay for trial in Bhopal, will be lodged in the women's prison at Chanchalguda.

"Bedi has already spent one year and eight months in jail, including the time she spent as an undertrial from the date of her arrest on November 11, 2005. Prior to her extradition, Bedi had spent nine months in custody in Portugal. She wants her detention in Portugal also to be taken into account. Thus, it comes to two years and five months. The remainder of her term comes to seven months now," her lawyer Pradeep Kumar said.

"The Supreme Court has granted her bail on executing two sureties of Rs 50,000 each. She has to furnish the sureties in Hyderabad for being released on bail. We hope to complete the formalities in a few days' time for her release pending the disposal of her appeal in the apex court," Pradeep Kumar added.

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Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad