Hyderabad : Monica Bedi, who spent five years behind bars in Portugal and India before walking free Wednesday, said she has learnt many lessons from life in jail but would now like to return to films as she was getting a lot of offers.
"Ups and downs are common in life. There is always a morning after the night. It was a challenge. I learnt lessons from jail life and emerged more stronger and confident," she told newsmen.
The companion of gangster Abu Salem was released from the Chanchalguda jail here, a day after a court granted her bail in a fake passport case.
Elaborating on the lessons she learnt, the former actress said: "Earlier, I used to trust everybody and think everybody is a nice person but now I have to be more careful," she said.
Clad in blue jeans and a pink kurta, Oxford-educated Monica emerged from Chanchalguda jail this morning and was received by her father Prem Kumar Bedi, friends and well-wishers.
A near stampede situation prevailed as dozens of photographers and television camera crew vied to take her pictures.
She left for Delhi, from where she plans to go to her native village Chabbewal in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab. "I am very happy. I have got justice. I am very thankful to God. I want to spend some time with my family," a beaming Monica, who spent 18 months in jail for being in possession of a fake passport.
"Jail life was hard in the beginning but I had to adjust because there was no other choice," she added.
Monica, who has acted in a few Hindi and Telugu films, said she planned to make a comeback to films and claimed to be getting offers from both Bollywood and the Telugu film industry.
"I plan to return to Hyderabad as I am getting offers," she said, thanking the film industry for welcoming her back.
"I am excited to be back to acting after a long time. I was missing acting in films," said Monica, who was arrested along with Salem in Lisbon in September 2002 and was extradited in November 2005.
"I am sure this time I will make it. I will be careful in choosing films, producers and directors," she said in an obvious reference to the links between some film industry people and the underworld. She said she plans to do only lead roles in films.
It was reportedly on the recommendation of Salem that Monica got roles in a few films in early 1990s. She reportedly got married to Salem and lived with him in Dubai.
She refused to tell reporters what went wrong. "It is over. I am looking forward to the future," was all she said.
Monica, who had denied her marriage with Salem during the hearing, said she had no plans for the marriage. "I have no marriage plans as of now. Marriage can wait."
A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court Tuesday granted her bail after the Supreme Court Monday relaxed her bail condition, but she could not be released Tuesday because it was already sunset before the court orders reached the jail.
The court had last week declined to grant her bail as she failed to deposit her passport but the Supreme Court Monday ruled that she would not be required to deposit the document.
Monica had told the court that she had lost her passport in Lisbon.
The CBI court had last year sentenced Bedi to five years imprisonment, which was later reduced to three years by the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
In May this year, the Supreme Court had granted her bail in the fake passport case but she could not be released due to a similar case pending against her in Bhopal. She was brought back here last week after the Bhopal court acquitted her in the second case.
Monica was arrested in Lisbon in 2002 when she was found travelling on a fake passport along with Salem. After a long judicial process, Salem and Monica were extradited in 2005. While Salem was lodged in a Mumbai jail for his alleged involvement in the 1993 terror blasts in Mumbai, Monica was brought to Hyderabad for trial in the fake passport case.
Monica was charged with acquiring a passport under a fictitious name in 2001 by furnishing a false residential address in Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh.