A Delhi court Friday allowed 34 foreign nationals from Thailand 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.
Metropolitan Magistrate Gagandeep Jindal allowed the foreigners to walk free on payment of a fine of Rs 6,000 each, said advocate Ashima Mandla appearing for them.
The court directed the foreigners to deposit their fines at the PM CARES Fund, since the foreigners have been found guilty of violating government orders pertaining to COVID-19 pandemic.
It allowed them to walk free after the Sub-divisional magistrate of Defence Colony, who was the complainant in the case, Assistant Commissioner of Police of Lajpat Nagar, Inspector of Nizamuddin said they have no objection to it.
However, seven Thai nationals did not plead guilty to the charges against them and claimed trial before the court.
The court was hearing their plea bargain applications.
The court had on Thursday directed 22 Nepalese to walk free on payment of Rs 4,000 fine each, which was also deposited at PM CARES Fund.
A total of Rs 2,92,000 have been deposited in PM CARES Fund by 56 foreign nationals.
PM CARES Fund was set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for fighting COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
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.
The foreigners were charge sheeted for attending the religious congregation at Nizamuddin Markaz event in the national capital by allegedly violating visa conditions, indulging in missionary activities illegally and violating government guidelines, issued in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
They were granted bail earlier by the court on a personal bond of Rs 10,000 each.