Maharashtra government raises jail term upto 5 years for chain snatchers

The Maharashtra government has decided to increase the punishment for chain snatching up to 5 years of rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 25,000, if a person is found guilty of the crime.

Representational pictureIllustration by Uday Mohite

The state Cabinet has cleared amendments to Indian Penal Code sections 379, 397-A (1)(2) and section 379-B along with the CrPC Act-1973, thus increasing the punishment up to five years rigorous imprisonment and Rs 25,000 fine, in case of grievous injury to the victim. In cases of other chain snatching incidents (in which victim is not injured), the punishment ranges between 2-5 years.

In a statement released in Mumbai on Tuesday, the government noted that there has been a rise in incidents of chain snatching with a view to earn easy money.

In major cities there has been a rise in number of chain snatching incidents, and in some cases people have lost their lives in the process, it said. The new additional section of 379-A(1) will define chain snatching as a crime and the convict will be sentenced under section 379-A(2), which provides minimum of 2 years and maximum of 5 years rigorous imprisonment.

Besides this, the IPC section 379-B will award rigorous imprisonment of minimum three years and maximum five years and fine of Rs 25,000, in case of causing grievous injury to the victim or snatching the chain by issuing threat with a weapon. The hearing of such cases will be conducted in the court of First Class Judicial Magistrate.

According to the police crime statistical report of last year, a total of 2,305 cases of chain snatching involving stolen gold chains worth Rs 14.2 crore were reported in Mumbai in 2014-15.

Besides, a total of 8,350 cases of chain snatching with stolen gold chains worth Rs 47.5 crore were reported in Maharashtra during the same period.

Notably, the state government had recently decided to apply the stringent provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) to curb the incidents of chain snatching.

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