Chanchalguda Jail, Monica Bedi and "Rahul Ligma & Daniel Johnson"


When I was at Chanchalguda jail (outside), ‘Rahul & Johnson’ arrived in one of the latest cars of that time.

Ch Sushil Rao blogpost: In 2002, Don Abu Salem and actress Monica Bedi were arrested in Lisbon, Portugal and extradited to India. Monica Bedi was lodged at the Central Prison for Women at Chanchalguda in Hyderabad and Abu Salem was lodged in a Mumbai jail. There was a big crowd at the Chanchalguda jail, but mostly media personnel, television camera crew, the curious local public and the police. I’d met Monica Bedi a couple of times some years ago as she had acted in a few Telugu films. This was as part of my work as a journalist. Little did I imagine that her life would take a different turn.

Let’s get back to ‘Rahul & Johnson’. On the pavement and in the visitors’ open area in front of it near the Chanchalguda jail, the media waited for several hours. Would any of her family or relatives come? Anyone and everyone who remotely gave the impression that they were not from Hyderabad was suspect. Could it be them? There was only disappointment. None of them ‘lived up to the expectations’. That’s when ‘Rahul & Johnson’ arrived on the scene. They arrived in one of those latest cars of that time. They looked rich. Fashionable. Sad. Soon enough, they were mobbed by the media, mainly the television crew. They did not shy away from the media. They were patient and willing to answer questions. They came out of their car and stood as a number of television cameras zoomed into their faces. “We are very sad for what happened,” one of them said. “She was not the type that indulged in any activities against the country. We believe she is innocent,” Rahul & Johnson said.

Monica Bedi who had been extradited was charged with fraudulently getting a passport in Hyderabad.

‘Rahul & Johnson’ hoped that she would be out of the jail soon and they had come there to meet her if the jail officials permitted them. By their talk and ‘appearance’ it did look like they could have been related to the actress. However, they clarified that they were not related to her. “I myself am an actor. I have acted with her in a few films and I am a friend. At this moment, I am here to  show  that we care for her and hope she will fight the legal battle and come out of jail,” ‘Rahul & Johnson’ said. They went back in the same car they had come in. For the hordes of media men, especially television crew, it was worth the effort and time. Finally, they had spoken to someone close to Monica Bedi.

I knew ‘Rahul & Johnson’. Not personally. I’d seen them in the area vrooming on their motorbike creating a ruckus. They found an opportunity that would give them their 15 minutes of fame. I watched them as they acted out their roles in front of television cameras. I stayed away from talking to them. It would have been impossible to stop the television crews of all the channels from falling into the trap of Rahul & Johnson. After the duo left, I told them that they duo lived locally at Chanchalguda as I had seen them before. Some locals who had also gathered by them laughed and confirmed that the ‘Rahul & Johnson’  the television crew had interviewed were in no way connected to Monica Bedi and they had pulled a prank on the media.

Why this? Why now? Legitimate questions. Two persons identifying themselves as Rahul Ligma and Daniel Johnson posing as fired employees of twitter spoke to the media in front of Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco. They explained how their services had been terminated. It soon dawned on the media that it had been taken for a ride by the duo. They were not employees of Twitter and they had not been sacked.  Elon Musk who acquired twitter displayed his characteristic humour by posting a photograph of himself with ‘Rahul and Johnson’ beside him saying that they had been reinstated and firing them was a mistake. That too was a prank.

The Chanchalguda version of ‘Rahul & Johnson’ however, will be my choice for the top honours if I were to have a say on who acted better. The San Francisco duo can settle for the second spot.

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