Foreigners accused in diamond theft case offer plea bargaining

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Mumbai, Jan 12, (PTI) Four foreign nationals, arrestedfor allegedly stealing diamonds worth Rs 6.6 crore from astall at an international jewellery show here in August lastyear, today offered to plead guilty of the charges againstthem and go for plea bargaining.

Guerrero Lugo Elvia Grissel (24), Campos Molan Elias(39),Gonzalez Maldonado Mauricio (24), all Mexicans, and GutierezOrlando from Venezuela, who were detained by the Dubai policeon an Interpol alert and later arrested by the city crimebranch, have moved a plea before a metropolitan court hereseeking to accept the charges against them provided the courtgrants them lighter punishment in return.

"They moved the application today and I will file my sayon January 17," special prosecutor Rohini Salian said.

The application said there are 57 witnesses in the caseand the trial would take a long time to be completed.

Salian said the court will now consider the say of theprosecution as well as that of the person from whose stall,the diamonds were robbed.

"The consent of the victim is very important in theprocess of plea bargaining and it (plea bargaining) can onlyhappen if the victim agrees," he added.

Salian said once the court accepts the plea bargainingapplication then the punishment to be awarded to the accusedwill be reduced to one-fourth of the actual sentence.

"The maximum punishment in this robbery case is sevenyears," he said. "The court will also direct the accused topay the victim some compensation for the loss and trauma thathe has suffered," he added.

Plea-bargaining, introduced in India through the CriminalLaw (Amendment) Act, 2005, is applicable only with offencesfor which the punishment is seven years'' imprisonment or less.

It does not apply to serious cases or those committed againsta woman or a child below the age of 14.

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