Delhi Police file 12 more charge sheets against foreigners in Jamaat case
Delhi Police on Thursday filed 12 charge sheets against 541 foreign members of the Tablighi Jamaat who attended a congregation organised by the Islamic missionary group at its Nizamuddin headquarters in March. This is the third consecutive day charge sheets have been filed against foreigners in the case for violating visa conditions and Covid-19 lockdown rules, taking the total number indicted to 915.
The charge sheets filed on Thursday against foreigners from three countries ran into more than 12,000 pages, and were submitted before the duty magistrate in the Saket court. In the same case, between Tuesday and Wednesday, 35 charge sheets were filed in the same court against 374 foreigners belonging to 34 different countries. The court is to decide on the cognisance of the charge sheets on June 25.
The 47 charge sheets filed in the three days run into 40,908 pages.
The 915 foreigners have all been booked under Section 14 (b) of the Foreigners Act, Section 3 of the Epidemic Disease Act, Section 51 of the Disaster Management Act and four sections (188, 269, 270 and 271) of the Indian Penal Code for violating visa conditions, lockdown rules, spreading the virus, and breaking quarantine rules, the police said.
“The Central government has already blacklisted them and cancelled their visas, as all of them arrived in India on tourist visas but indulged in missionary activities , which is illegal and against the visa manuals,” said Delhi Police spokesperson Mandeep Singh Randhawa.
Randhawa said of the 541 foreigners charge-sheeted on Thursday, 414 are from Indonesia, 85 from Kyrgyzstan and 42 belong to Malaysia.
The crime branch had filed a criminal case against Tablighi Jamaat chief Maulana Saad and six other top officials of the organisation on March 31 for defying a series of government directives, which curbed religious and large gatherings to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the national capital.
More than 2,300 people, including foreigners, were evacuated from the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in March-end and lodged in quarantine facilities in Delhi by the authorities. The headquarters, known as the Markaz, went on to emerge as the biggest Covid-19 cluster in India, leading to a spurt in the rate of infection in the city.
A total of 943 foreigners who had attended the religious congregation organised at the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters have been questioned in the case. While the passports of 723 foreigners and identity cards of 23 Nepal nationals have been recovered, the investigating team set yet to get the travel documents of 197 foreigners.
“A majority from the 197 foreigners claim that their passports are with the officer bearers of the Tablighi Jamaat or at its headquarters. Our team had searched the headquarter but did not find them. The investigators would obtain details of their visa and passport from the immigration bureau, if the documents are not recovered,” said a senior crime branch officer privy to the probe, requesting anonymity.