The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Monica charms Bhopal police
- Cops bring food, click pictures

Bhopal, Dec. 7: She is too innocent to be involved with gangsters, said one. Another vouched for her “virtuous” character. They all agreed Monica Bedi must have been “duped”.

Police personnel in Bhopal, where Abu Salem’s companion was given 14 days’ judicial remand today, have been dripping with sympathy for their celebrity prisoner.

Through the two days she spent at Mahila thana, the men and women in uniform competed for her attention.

Some used their fancy mobiles to click pictures. Monica didn’t disappoint them ' she even struck a few poses.

Others brought food from their homes for the actor; one of them looked ecstatic when she asked him to join in.

The accused has been brought to Bhopal in a passport forgery case in which Salem and three others are co-accused.

Judge D.K. Dangi sent her to judicial custody till December 20. Her bail application will be heard on December 9, defence lawyer Sudhir Batra said.

Bhopal superintendent of police A.K. Singh said he had sought the court’s permission to send Monica back to Hyderabad, where she faces similar charges.

At the police station, her guards and protectors seemed to let their imagination run wild as they spun stories about her “innocence” and “virtue”. One officer, who claimed to have “interrogated” her, insisted that while in West Asia, the actor had consistently resisted Arab sheikhs’ lust and their offers of huge sums of money for nude photographs.

Some went a step further, speaking in whispers of how inter-faith marriages were being used to “dupe virtuous and celebrity” women. In Bhopal, marriages or liaisons between Hindu-Muslim couples have often sparked communal tension.

Monica’s case dates back to November 2001 when a sub-divisional police officer, R.S. Narwaria, was investigating a fake passport racket. The three passports involved in Monica’s case had been issued in the names of Danish Baig, Fauzia Usman and Rubina Baig, who turned out to be Abu Salem, Monica Bedi and Salem’s first wife Samira Jumani.

The trio had allegedly obtained the passports against false documents. The police’s affidavit names Siraj, a Bhopal resident, as an accomplice.

The passport application for Fauzia Usman had a photograph of Monica affixed to it. But Monica has denied she had applied for the passport, police sources said.

She insists this is her first visit to Bhopal and dismisses the photograph attached to the passport as one created by “trick photography”.

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