A Delhi court on Thursday allowed 198 Indonesian nationals to walk out free, after levying a penalty under the plea bargaining process, after they accepted mild charges related to various violations while attending the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in March.
Plea bargain is a pre-trial negotiation between the accused and the prosecution where the accused agrees to plead guilty in exchange for certain concessions by the prosecution.
Metropolitan Magistrate Vasundhara Azad, of the Saket Court, directed 100 foreign nationals to pay a fine of Rs 7,000, while another Metropolitan Magistrate, Swati Sharma, asked the rest to pay a penalty of Rs 5,000. One Indonesian, however, sought a trial in the matter.
The Crime Branch of Delhi Police has named more than 900 foreign nationals in connection with the case. An FIR was registered against Tablighi Jamaat leader Maulana Saad Kandhalvi and others on March 31.
The accused have been charged under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Disaster Management Act, and also for violating the prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
On July 6, the court had noted that there was prima facie sufficient material on record to proceed against the accused persons under Section 14 (b) of the Foreigners Act, 1946, provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code.