The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Monica asks PM for a chance
- Abu Salem's girlfriend wants to go home to parents

New Delhi, Nov. 6: Underworld don Abu Salem's girlfriend Monica Bedi, who is facing extradition from Portugal, has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for pardon.

The hand-written letter, requesting 'a second chance', was received at the Prime Minister's office, official sources said here. But a PMO official, contacted tonight, said he was not in the know.

Monica ' who on September 17 completed her two-year sentence in Portugal for entering and staying on a forged document ' pleaded for cancellation of all criminal proceedings the CBI has initiated against her. Monica requested that she be allowed to go to Norway where her parents emigrated 18 years ago.

She expressed fears that she would be tortured physically and mentally when the CBI questions her on her links with Salem, who was introduced to her during a stage show as Aslam Ali, a businessman from Pakistan. Monica claimed she came to know about Salem's real identity much later.

The don, accused of being a prime conspirator in the March 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai that killed more than 250 people, is serving a four-and-a-half-year term in Lisbon.

The little-known Bollywood actor said Salem forced her to secure a forged passport and clarified that she had never used it while going out from India or in Dubai. She claimed she had no malafide intentions.

Monica admitted her 'guilt' in forging the passport, but voiced fears that the CBI would question her in connection with the 1993 blasts of which, she claimed, she had no knowledge.

'When the blasts took place, I was merely 16 years and was staying in Norway. My association with Salem was very limited and it continued to be like that even when we were caught in Portugal,' she said in the letter, which has been sent to the Union home ministry for examination.

The actor said once she is brought back to India, she will not be able to visit her parents in the absence of any travel documents, which are likely to be impounded by the CBI.

'I know that I have committed a mistake and all I require is a second chance,' she said. 'Me and my family are already paying a heavy price for my association with Salem.'

The CBI had sought Monica's extradition for obtaining a fake travel document in the name of Sanha Kamal Mallick from Hyderabad.

She was caught in Portugal with the same passport and detained in September 2002, along with Salem and two others.

During her extradition trial, her brother Bobby had deposed and said his sister and Salem had entered Portugal as they feared a threat to their lives from the Indian mafia.

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