The Supreme Court on Thursday granted bail to Bollywood starlet Monica Bedi in a passport forgery case but the companion of gangster Abu Salem will remain behind bars for now as she was denied a similar relief in another case.
A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran granted bail to Bedi in a passport forgery case in which she was sentenced to three years imprisonment by the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
The bench denied her bail in another case being tried in Bhopal. However, it directed the Bhopal trial court to expeditiously conclude the proceeding in the case registered against Bedi, Salem and three others for allegedly procuring passports on the basis of fake documents in 2001.
Bedi has been lodged at the Central Jail in Bhopal since last year. She was arrested in Portugal along with gangster Abu Salem in August, 2002 for using fake passport and the two were extradited to India in November, 2005.
Senior Counsel K T S Tulsi appearing for Bedi contended that she had already undergone three years of imprisonment in Portugal for the offence of using forged passport and she could not be convicted twice for the same offence.
"A person cannot be punished twice for the same offence or alleged different offences arising out of the same facts. It is a violation of her fundamental rights granted by the
Constitution if she is punished again by an Indian court," her counsel argued.
The actress pleaded before the apex court that she needed to collect documents from Dubai to prove that she was out of country when the passport was allegedly released on her name.