In a major development, as many as 120 Somali pirates arrested by Mumbai Police in 2011 have told their Embassy officials that they want to plead guilty in the case.
If the plea is accepted by the court, then the pirates will be convicted and they can undergo the jail term in their country, an official said.
The prosecution informed about this development before the Mumbai sessions court last week.
“After the accused expressed their desire to the Embassy officials, who met them recently, they communicated it to the state Home department, while we informed it to the court last week,” said an official from Yellow Gate police station.
In all, 120 pirates were arrested between January and March 2011 and they were charged under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Arms Act.
The first batch of 15 pirates was intercepted on January 28, 2011. They had held 20 Thai and Myanmarese nationals hostage in mother vessel ‘Prantalay 14’.
On February 6, 2011, the Navy and Coastguard had intercepted vessel ‘Prantalay 11’ and rescued 24 Thai nationals and arrested 28 pirates.
In March 2011, in two operations, two vessels – Vega 5 and Morteza – were intercepted and 77 pirates arrested from them.
The hostages hailed from countries like Pakistan, Mozambique, Thailand, Iran, Myanmar and Indonesia.
The court had framed charges against all the pirates in January 2012.