Television

Monica Bedi's family speaks out! on Star News exclusive from Norway

In an exclusive interview Monica Bedi's entire family based in Norway spoke freely to Star News' Jitendra Dixit. Monica is alleged to have married underworld don Abu Salem and is currently in jail in Hyderabad facing forgery charges.

Star News traveled across the world and tracked down Monica's family. In our endeavor to understand her personality we spoke to the people closest to her. This is the first and only ever media interview given by Monica Bedi's family. Just two weeks ago Star News was the only channel to speak with Samira Jumani, the first wife of underworld don Abu Salem.

This report provides an insight into the childhood and upbringing of Monica Bedi, the woman who for many years trotted to globe with Salem, and who is alleged to have married him. We visited her home in Norway, went to her school and spoke to people in Norway who knew her the best.

Monica's family has been living in Norway since 1975. Star News tracked them down and spoke with the entire family for several hours. During this time Star News tried to understand Monica's motivations for leaving her secure and comfortable home in Norway to try her luck in Mumbai's uncertain film world. He attempted to unravel the reasons for her getting involved with the dangerous underworld gangster.

Monica's family lives in Drammen, which is 45km from Norway's capital Oslo. Her father and brother together run a clothing store. Monica's father Dr. Prem Bedi was a doctor in Punjab's Hoshiarpur, before migrating to Norway thirty years ago.

Monica studied in Norway till college, before moving to England in 1992 for studies.

Star News tracked down the family gave them the opportunity to present their side of the story before the media.

Monica's father Prem Bedi at first insisted that he had "never met Abu Salem". He later conceded that he met him only while he was in prison, and the first time that he met him was after Monica and Salem's arrest in Portugal in 2002.

According to Prem Bedi, his daughter had referred to Salem in the past; however she never revealed his real name or identity to them. Instead she introduced them to him as 'Sanjay'. According to him, Salem insisted that his name was Sanjay when he met him in prison.

Monica according to her parents was an "innocent child", and was mislead by Salem. Her father insisted that "Monica never knew Abu Salem's true identity until she moved to Dubai".

Strongly denying the possibility of his daughter having married the infamous don, Prem Bedi insisted that his daughter had never married. She however mentioned that 'Sanjay' was a friend who had "helped her get a few films".

Prem Bedi said that he was coming to India next week to help his daughter, and in the meantime his brother based in Hoshiarpur was chipping in with the help that he could provide.

Monica's father said that while his daughter may have used a fake passport, she never did so willingly. Prem Bedi insisted that she only used a fake passport under pressure from Abu Salem.

The last time Prem Bedi met his daughter Monica, she was crying and saying "Papa I have got stuck".

Monica's father said that he met Salem for the first time when he was in Jail in Portugal. Salem respectfully said "Pranaam" to him, and introduced himself as Sanjay. Prem Bedi said that Salem never gave him any impression of being a notorious underworld gangster, but instead insisted that he was innocent and was being framed. Prem added that Salem was extremely courteous during his meeting.

During his conversation with Bedi, Salem respectlfully called Prem Bedi "Papa". He maintained that he was "framed" perhaps because of his being "connected with bad people". Salem however maintained that "he was innocent". In conversation Salem told Bedi that he had no involvement in the Sanjay Dutt case, as alleged by the police.

A clearly disturbed Bedi said that he would "call his daughter home, because she had no future left in India".

He also reminisced of her childhood days, and said that "Monica was a sharp child" and that "she never did anything wrong." He said that she was loved and regarded by people in Norway.

Jitendra also spoke to Monica's mother, Shakuntala, who was suffering from partial paralysis. Shakuntala spoke about how she often accompanied Monica during her shoots and also about how she put her through dance and driving classes. Obviously disturbed by the unfortunate turn of events, Shakuntala broke down on more than one occasion while speaking with Jitendra. She also insisted that Monica had not married Salem, saying that her daughter just got trapped, saying that children growing up in Norway were shielded from the harsh realities of the world and were thus innocent and easily misled.

Monica's sister in law also spoke of how Monica was left all alone in India ever since 1995 when her mother in law fell sick.

Star News spent a large part of two days in Drammen interacting with the Bedis. We visited their shop in the city, in which they sell Indian clothes and also film CDs to the 500 strong expatriate Indian community.

Star News first aired its exclusive analysis of the interview and report in "Norway Ki Ek Ladki" from 8pm to 10pm and the complete interviews of her family members in "Monica Meri Beti" at 10pm. `

ABOUT STAR NEWS

STAR NEWS, the first Indian news channel, is a joint venture between ABP TV - a 100 % subsidiary of ABP Pvt. Ltd. - and STAR India Pvt. Ltd., two of the biggest brands in Indian media. The Channel is best defined by a fair and balanced approach that combines prompt reporting with insightful analysis of news and current affairs. Living upto its motto of "Aapko Rakhe Aagey', STAR NEWS is a people's channel that focuses on relevant news in a cutting-edge format. Since its conception, the Channel has grown to command a viewership of over 20 million Indian homes. Today, STAR NEWS is available in the Indian subcontinent, South-East Asia, Central Asia, UK, USA and Australia, making it the first and only Global Indian News Channel.

For further information, please contact:

Rashmi Naik / Navin Tauro

Vaishnavi Corporate Communications

Tel: 022 5656 8787 / Fax: 022 5656 8788

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