Indian court sentences former actress, girlfriend of criminal to five years in jail

A court on Friday sentenced a former Bollywood actress and girlfriend of a notorious underworld figure Abu Salem to five years in prison for obtaining an Indian passport using a fictitious name and address in southern Andhra Pradesh state five years ago.

Monica Bedi remained calm as the judge pronounced her guilty of cheating and forgery charges.

Salem and Bedi were extradited in November last year to India from Portugal after more than a decade on the run.

Salem is a prime suspect in the 1993 bombings of Mumbai's stock exchange along with trains, hotels and gas stations, killing 257 people and wounding more than 1,100. A court verdict in his trial is expected shortly in Mumbai.

On Friday, the court also sentenced two other accused, Abul Sattar and Mohammed Yunus, to three years' imprisonment for helping Bedi in getting the forged passport.

Salem and Bedi had separately appealed against their deportation from Portugal, arguing that they would not get a fair trial in India. Salem had claimed his life would be in danger if he returned to India.

However, the Portuguese Supreme Court turned down his appeal. Portugal extradited the couple after India gave an assurance that Salem would not face capital punishment for his alleged crimes in India, reports AP.

Monica began her career as a Bollywood actress and got her first big break against a top actor, Sanjay Dutt, in "Jodi Number One," or "Pair Number One," allegedly under pressure from Salem.

Dutt is also an accused in the 1993 Mumbai bombings case. He is charged with possessing an assault rifle allegedly given to him by another suspect.

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