Fake passport case: Court sentences Salem to four years jail

Friday, November 19, 2010

BHOPAL - A court in the Madhya Pradesh capital Friday sentenced underworld don Abu Salem to four years jail in a 2001 fake passport case. However, he will spend less then a year in prison as he has already been imprisoned for more than three years.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Ram Gopal Singh also slapped a fine of Rs.10,000 on Salem.

The court Tuesday convicted Salem under section 471 (Using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 12A of Passport Act for using a forged document and travelling without valid documents. However, Salem was acquitted of the charges under section 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) of the IPC.

Salem has been sentenced to two years jail and Rs.5,000 fine each under both charges. The court also mentioned that the two sentences will run consecutively. However as Salem has already spent three years and six days in the case, he will now serve 11 months and 24 days more.

Wearing a pink T-shirt, Salem was calm and composed during his almost three-hour-long stay in court. He appeared twice, before and after lunch.

Salem, who had been brought from Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail Oct 28 and kept in Bhopal Central Jail, is to be taken back to Mumbai after the court verdict.

After the court pronounced the sentence, both the prosecution and defence expressed dissatisfaction on the verdict and said they would go in for appeal.

“We will go in appeal to increase the punishment as Salem should have been given seven years of imprisonment in the case,” district prosecutor Rajesh Raikwar told reporters.

Salem’s lawyer Jitender Soni also expressed his intention to appeal. “We will also appeal. When court had acquitted Salem from the charges under section 468, he should not be sentenced two years imprisonment,” he said.

Salem, his wife Samira Jumani and film actress Monica Bedi had allegedly acquired passports from Bhopal on the basis of fake documents, following which cases were registered against them at the Koh-e-Fiza police station in 2001.

These passports were issued from the Regional Passport Office of Bhopal, under fictitious names of Danish Baig, Rubina Baig and Fauzia Osman, respectively.

Monica Bedi and two Bhopal residents, Syed Abdul Jaleel alias Shiraz and Syed Abdul Kabeer alias Baba, who were also accused in the case, were acquitted in the case in July 2007, while Samira Jumani is still at large.

Bedi was arrested along with Salem at a shopping mall in Lisbon Sep 18, 2002 following which an Interpol red-corner notice was issued at the behest of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the duo was eventually extradited to India.

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