Rs 1 lakh fine for man who stole Canadian visa stickers

Rs 1 lakh fine for man who stole Canadian visa stickers

Jail term modified considering his background

 A man, held guilty of stealing visa stickers in 1997 from Canadian High Commission and illegally using them in documents to travel to Toronto, has been awarded a month of rigorous jail term by a Delhi court which modified the sentence considering his family background.

Special judge Poonam Chaudhry partly allowed the appeal of convict Amit Verma and modified the jail term awarded to him from three months to one month but doubled the fine to Rs 1 lakh saying the allegations against him were grave.

"I am of the view that the allegations against the accused are of grave nature as he attempted to cheat the airline on the basis of stolen visa stickers to induce the airline to allow him to travel from Delhi to Toronto, however, as he was found to be an unfit passenger, he slipped away.

"Appellant had dishonestly and fraudulently used as genuine the Canadian visa sticker on his travel documents. I uphold his conviction," the judge said.

The court reduced the jail term after 40-year-old Verma prayed for a lenient view and submitted that the sentence awarded is harsh. He had also said he needed to take care of his family comprising his mother, wife and two children.

"In the facts and circumstances, the sentence is modified to the extent that appellant (Verma) be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for one month for the offences under sections 420 (cheating), 411 (dishonestly possessing stolen property) and 471 (using forged document as genuine) of the IPC, and fine of Rs one lakh," the court said.

A complaint was lodged in 1997 by the then liaison officer of the Canadian High Commission alleging that on January 15, 1997, Verma had stolen visa tickets from the High Commission in the national capital.

It said the then Immigration Control officer of the high commission was contacted by the airline authorities who told him that Verma attempted to board a flight to Toronto without possessing an authentic Canadian visa.It was alleged that Verma committed theft and subsequent sale of blank Canadian visitor visa stickers for monetary consideration.The accused had pleaded guilty before a magisterial court, after which he was convicted and sent to three months in jail.

However, in his appeal, he contended that he did not understand the meaning of pleading guilty and its consequences as he was in a disturbed state of mind due to compelling circumstances.

The court rejected this contention saying he had studied up to class XII therefore the claim that he did not understand the implications of pleading guilty is without merits.

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