Foreigners from 14 countries accept plea deal; others claim trial

new delhi: A Delhi court Monday allowed foreign nationals from 14 countries to walk free on payment of different fines, after they accepted mild charges, under the plea bargain process, related to various violations including visa norms while attending Tablighi Jamaat congregation here during the COVID-19 lockdown, a lawyer said. Foreigners from five countries, however, claimed trial before the court, said the lawyer.

Metropolitan Magistrate Himanshu allowed the foreign nationals from Algeria, Belgium, UK, Egypt and the Philippines to walk free on payment of a fine of Rs, 10,000 each.

Another Metropolitan Magistrate Aashish Gupta allowed five Sudanese nationals to walk free on payment of a fine of 5,000 each. Metropolitan Magistrate Paras Dalal allowed foreigners from China, Morocco, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Fiji, Australia, Brazil, Afghanistan were allowed to walk free on payment of a fine of 5,000 each.

They were allowed to walk free after the Sub-divisional magistrate of Lajpat Nagar, who was the complainant in the case, Additional Commissioner of Police of Lajpat Nagar, Inspector of Nizamuddin said they have no objection to their plea.

However, two Sudanese nationals, foreigners from Jordan, US, Russia, Kazakhstan and one Overseas Citizen of India from the UK did not plead guilty to milder charges and claimed trial, said advocates Ashima Mandla, Mandakini Singh, Fahim Khan and Ahmed Khan, representing them.

Under plea bargaining, the accused plead guilty to the offence praying for a lesser punishment.

The Criminal Procedure of Code allows plea bargaining for cases where the maximum punishment is imprisonment for seven years, where offences don't affect the socio-economic conditions of the society and when the offences are not committed against a woman or a child below 14 years.

Another court here granted bail to 85 Kyrgyzstan nationals who were chargesheeted for attending the congregation here allegedly in violation of visa norms, indulging in missionary activities illegally and violating government guidelines issued in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur granted the relief on furnishing personal bond of Rs 10,000 each.

To date, 532 foreigners from 34 countries, who were chargesheeted in the case, have been granted bail by the court.

The accused who were granted bail Monday will file their plea bargaining applications on Tuesday, said advocates Ashima Mandla, Mandakini Singh and Fahim Khan, appearing for them.

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