Abu Salem gets seven-year jail in fake passport case
Hyderabad – A special court here Thursday sent! enced gangster Abu Salem to seven years in jail in the 2001 fake passport case.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court, which Nov 18 convicted the gangster, extradited from Portugal, held him guilty of criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery.
Abu Salem had obtained a passport under a fictitious name and address from Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh in 2001.
The 3rd Special CBI Court Judge M.V. Ramana Naidu Thursday pronounced the order. Abu Salem, who was brought by the police from Mumbai, was present in the court hall. He was later taken back to Mumbai, where he is lodged in a jail in other criminal cases.
CBI’s senior public prosecutor T.V. Ramana said that Salem was found guilty under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). These include Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 419 (cheating by personation), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the IPC.
The public pros! ecutor told reporters that Salem has already completed six years of imp! risonment in the case.
Salem procured the fake passport under the fictitious identity by submitting false documents, including forged birth certificate and residential proof to the Hyderabad Regional Passport Office.
Some government officials and private persons had helped him in obtaining the fake passports for himself, one for his first wife Sabeen Azmi and another for his girlfriend and starlet Monica Bedi.
Bedi’s passport was issued in the name of Sana Malik Kamal and Salem got the passport in the name of Ramil Kamal Malik.
Andhra Pradesh Police had booked Salem, Monica Bedi, Sabeen Azmi and others in 2002 after the Intelligence Bureau got a tip-off that Salem and Bedi had used fake passports during a trip to Dubai. The case was later handed over to CBI.
Out of the 10 accused chargesheeted in 2004, seven faced the trial while three are still absconding. Two were acquitted and five including Salem and Monica Bedi were convicted.
! Monica Bedi, who too was extradited from Portugal along with Abu Salem in 2005, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by the CBI court in 2007. The Supreme Court later released her on bail.
The charges against Salem were framed in 2009. He pleaded then that he was implicated in a false case and claimed that he had left India in 1993. Salem and Bedi fled the country after the 1993 blasts in Mumbai, which claimed over 250 lives.
After prolonged extradition proceedings, Salem and Bedi were brought to India Nov 11, 2005. Their cases were separated for speedy trial. Bedi was acquitted by a Bhopal court in a similar case in 2007.