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CBI takes Monica plea to Portugal apex court

New Delhi, July 23: Delhi has filed an appeal in the Portuguese supreme court, challenging a lower court order that turned down its request to extradite underworld don Abu Salemís wife Monica Bedi.

The Portugal prosecutor-general filed the appeal in the court early this week on behalf of India.

The trial court had rejected Indiaís extradition request on the ground that as the offence committed by the accused in both countries was the same, she could be tried in Portugal.

The CBI, in its application, has argued that the offences committed here and in Lisbon were different in nature. ďThe crime committed in India was submission of forged document to fraudulently obtain passports, which is much more serious in nature than the crime committed in Portugal ó possession of forged document,Ē it said.

Monica had obtained two passports by using forged documents and under assumed names from the passport offices in Hyderabad and Bhopal.

The Portuguese government earlier this month wrote to its Indian counterpart, informing them about the trial courtís decision.

The refusal had caught the CBI on wrong foot, as Portugalís prosecutor-general, after going through the documents placed by the agency, had recommended to its justice ministry in mid-March that both Salem and Monica could be extradited.

The underworld don, wanted in the 1993 Bombay blasts case, apart from other cases of extortion and murder, was arrested in Lisbon, along with Monica, on September 18 following an Interpol Red Corner Notice issued at the behest of the CBI.

Replying to Salemís allegations in the trial court that being a Muslim, he would not get a fair trial in India, the CBI has said that in a secular and democratic country like India, no one is prosecuted on the basis of religion or caste or creed.

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