Saad can join probe on 3-day notice: Kin of Tablighi Jamaat chief
Maulana Badrul Hasan, a resident of Kandhla and a relative of Saad, also said that he was in regular contact with Saad’s family. Saad belongs to Kandhala town in Shamli district and many of his relatives live there.Updated: Apr 19, 2020 03:17 IST
Tablighi Jamaat chief Maulana Saad could join the investigation into defying a series of government directives, which curbed religious and large gatherings, on a three-day notice, said a close relative of the religious leader on Saturday.
Maulana Badrul Hasan, a resident of Kandhla and a relative of Saad, also said that he was in regular contact with Saad’s family. Saad belongs to Kandhala town in Shamli district and many of his relatives live there. “He was in self quarantine and thus could not appear before the crime branch. But now he is ready to answer questions in person. But the agency should give him three days notice,” said Maulana Hasan. According to him, Saad did not have a phone but was in regular contact with his family members.
On Thursday, Saad had written to the Delhi Police seeking a copy of the first information report (FIR) against him and seven others. Police had filed a criminal case against Saad and six other top officials of the Jamaat on March 31 for defying a series of government directives, which curbed religious and large gatherings, issued to contain the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease in the Capital.
In the letter, Saad had asked the police if they have added any new Indian Penal Code sections to the FIR.
Delhi Police officers, requesting anonymity, had on Wednesday confirmed that they had added Section 304 in the FIR against Saad. Section 304 of the IPC, related to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, is a stringent section, unlike the other sections of Epidemic Diseases Act which had been levied in the FIR initially. A person convicted under Section 304 of the IPC could be sentenced to a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment.
Saad’s lawyer Shahid Ali had also confirmed that they wrote to the police on Thursday. “We have given a letter to the Delhi Police stating that we have replied twice to the notices issued to us. We also asked them about media reports related to a particular section that has reportedly been added to the FIR. We also sought the copy of the FIR. We have reiterated that we are always available for cooperation in the investigation. We have not received any notices or summons to join the investigation except for some information they asked of us in their two letters.”
Badrul Hasan claimed that Saad was in Delhi and the crime branch officials are in contact with him through his lawyers. “Maulana is cooperating with them in every possible way,” Hasan claimed.
Regarding cases registered against four distant relatives of Maulana Saad in Saharanpur, he admitted that they are relatives but were not on good terms with Saad.
Two of these four relatives have been charged with concealing information about visiting Markaz in Nizamuddin; two of them had tested positive for Covid-19. They are undergoing treatment while two other relatives and eight other family members of the Jamaat chief have been placed under quarantine.
Last month, police officers and state government officials had evacuated more than 2,300 persons from inside the Markaz building in Delhi’s Nizamuddin, the headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat, where they had gathered for a religious congregation of indeterminate length. The meetings continued despite orders by the Delhi government banning all religious events (March 13), restricting gatherings to 200 people (March 16), and then putting a four-person limit (March 21) on all gatherings. The Nizamuddin area was also declared a containment zone after the evacuation. At least 21 evacuated persons had then tested positive for the Sars-Cov-2.
Earlier this month, police had sent two questionnaires to Saad, containing 29 questions related to the Tablighi Jamaat and the gatherings between March 10 and 15. In the first notice, which had 26 questions, sent on April 1, the investigating officer had sought details of CCTV cameras inside the building and had asked Saad to preserve the footage. The police had asked for details of all the people, including foreigners, present in the building last month. There was also a question on the steps taken by the management to disperse the gathering after the government had issued the prohibitory orders.