Markaz meet: 91 from 21 countries get bail
A city court on Wednesday granted bail to 91 foreigners from 21 countries who were named in police charge sheets for attending a congregation at the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz at Nizamuddin for violating visa conditions, indulging in missionary activities illegally and violating government lockdown guidelines issued in the wake of coronavirus disease outbreak.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur granted bail to the accused on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000 each. The foreigners who got to the relief came from Afghanistan, Brazil, China, USA, Ukraine, Australia, Egypt, Russia, Algeria, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, France, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Tunisia, UK, Fiji, Sudan, Philippines and Ethiopia.
Advocates Ashima Mandla and Mandakini Singh appearing for people from Algeria, China, Philippines, Ukraine, UK, Russia, Ethiopia, Morocco, Jordan and Sudan said that the court has allowed them to file plea bargain before the court on Thursday.
A plea bargaining is an arrangement between the prosecutor and accused whereby the latter pleads guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence or an agreement to drop other charges.
Advocates Fahim Khan and Ahmad Khan appeared for people from Brazil, Afghanistan, Fiji, USA, Australia, Egypt, Belgium, France, Kazakhstan and Tunisia.
During the hearing, all the foreigners who were staying at a hotel were produced before the court through video-conferencing.
The court had on Tuesday granted bail to 122 Malaysians who were also booked in the case. They also filed applications for plea bargaining which was allowed by the court and listed before the concerned Metropolitan Magistrate Siddharth Malik for early disposal of the petitions.
Earlier, the court had taken cognisance of the 59 charge sheets filed against 956 foreigners from 36 different countries in the case and summoned the accused to be produced on different dates through video conferencing.
The investigating officer had told the court that the investigation was complete against the 956 foreigners in the case and each has been allegedly found to have independently committed the offence for which he/she has been charge-sheeted and has added that the further investigation is pending.
According to the charge sheets, all the foreigners have been booked for violating visa rules, violating government guidelines issued in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic and regulations regarding Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act and prohibitory orders under section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure.
They have also been for the offences under sections 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 270 (Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 271 (Disobedience to quarantine rule) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Foreigners Act.
The punishment for various offences under penal provisions ranges from six months to eight years of imprisonment. The Centre has cancelled their Visa and blacklisted them. The foreign nationals have not been arrested yet and are presently residing at various places approved by the Delhi High Court.