The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Family gets new lawyer for Monica

Chandigarh, Nov. 22: Monica Bedi’s father will leave for India the moment he gets information that the application of the lawyer appointed by the family to defend her has been accepted by the CBI and the judge hearing her fake passport case.

Prem Kumar Bedi lives in Drammen in Norway, where he runs a clothes store.

“We want our own lawyer to defend her. We do not want one lawyer defending both Salem and Monica. My sister is innocent and she cannot be put in the same category with Salem,” her brother Bobby said from Drammen today.

Bobby said the family was awaiting instructions on the next course of action from the new lawyer they had “appointed”.

The actor, who is gangster Abu Salem’s companion, is accused of securing a passport under a false name from Hyderabad. Since the two were extradited from Portugal, the same lawyers have been defending them.

“We first have to see when the respected judge in the passport case will accept our lawyer. We want her to come home as early as possible. We don’t want her to get sucked into cases with Salem and we don’t want anybody taking orders from others to defend Monica. She was never and can never be a partner in crime with anyone. We have to clear her name,” he said.

Bobby said his father will be leaving for India on or after November 25, the day Monica’s judicial remand in Hyderabad is due to end. “But that will depend on the change in lawyers. If it happens today, he will leave within the next three to four days,” he added.

Declining to name the lawyer the family had appointed to represent Monica, Bobby said: “His application has to be accepted first. He is supposed to meet the judge today. Let us see what happens.”

In Hyderabad, advocate Ruchir Batra presented his credentials before the CBI judge hearing Monica’s case and sought permission to meet her in jail, adds our special correspondent. But judge P.C. Subramanyam turned down the application of Batra, who had arrived from Delhi, and asked him to consult the advocate-in-waiting for Monica, G. Babu Rao.

Batra said he had been hired by Purshottam Lal Bedi, Monica’s uncle who lives in Punjab, after she declared in court she is not married to Salem. “I will file papers before the CBI judge tomorrow in the company of the present advocate Babu Rao,” he said.

Monica’s statement on Saturday that she is single stunned not only the judge but also the team of advocates defending her.

Since making the announcement, Monica has been depressed, jail authorities at Chanchalguda said. “She is more pensive and is not even talking to the attendants about any of her basic needs. She has been washing clothes herself and cleaned her plates as well,” a source in the jail said.

A police team from Bhopal, where she is wanted in another fake passport case, has submitted a production warrant for Monica in the CBI court.

Asked how Monica’s extradition to India had affected his parents, Bobby said both were spending sleepless nights and constantly praying for her. “Friends and well-wishers are with Monica. Fate has played a cruel game with her,” he said.

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