No word about bullet-in-luggage trial

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Durban - The Pietermaritzburg woman who was thrown into a New Delhi prison after a 9mm bullet was found in her luggage earlier this year has yet to receive word from the Indian authorities about her trial.

Ishra Devi Lutchman, 62, was arrested at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in February and spent four days and nights in a New Delhi prison.

 To this day, Lutchman has no idea how the bullet came to be in her luggage.

She was allowed to return to South Africa after a Delhi court authorised the return of her passport.

Spaga Lutchman said he and his wife had recovered somewhat from her ordeal. “My wife is back at work and we are coping as best we can.”

Spaga said his wife and a family friend, Rumen Maistry, who is a police officer and a non-practising advocate, had made written representations to the Indian authorities, requesting information on when Lutchman’s case would be presented before the court.

They also requested CCTV footage of the airport to ascertain how the bullet came to be in Lutchman’s bag, but so far they have had no response.

“They will not get back to us. They took our money and now they have forgotten about it. But my wife is home where she belongs, and that is all that matters. In this case, maybe no news is good news,” Spaga said.

He confirmed that even if the charges against his wife are not dropped and the case proceeds in India, his wife will not be attending court, but will instead be represented by Maistry.

Maistry said the charge sheet against Lutchman had not been prepared yet, so they had no idea when he would be required to fly to India on Lutchman’s behalf.

“The Indian justice system works very differently to our own,” he said.

Lutchman, a St Anne’s Hospital cardiac unit nurse, flew to India with her sister and brother-in-law for a holiday in February. After her four-day detention, she was granted bail of 50 000 rupees and then granted permission to leave India after her family posted R70 000 security.

She was told to return to India to stand trial on charges of illegal possession of ammunition.

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