ED slaps money laundering case against Tablighi Jamaat chief
Jamaat chief’s lawyer has claimed that his client is under self-quarantine for 14 days.Updated: Apr 16, 2020 21:18 IST
The Enforcement Directorate has filed a money laundering case to investigate the entire funding of Tablighi Jamaat Markaz at Nizamuddin, both from within India and abroad, using which it organises religious congregations and travel of foreigners to different states, two officials confirmed to HT.
The central anti-money laundering probe agency has initiated its probe under Prevention of Money Laundering Act on the basis of a Delhi Police Crime Branch FIR registered against Tablighi Jamaat chief Maulana Muhammad Saad and five others under the Epidemic Disease Act of 1897 and Indian Penal Code after it was found that the Jamaat members flouted the nationwide lockdown.
A separate case for culpable homicide was also registered by the Delhi Police against Saad. He has been named accused by the ED as well under the PMLA.
According to the government, Tablighi Jamaat members were the reason for almost 35% Covid-19 positive cases in India till April 7 and close to 26,000 contacts of Tablighis were in quarantine across the country.
Around 1800 foreign Tablighi workers have also been blacklisted by the ministry of home affairs for violating their visa conditions.
One of the officials cited above said that ED will focus on whether donations received by Markaz were part of money laundering and if it was moved through hawala or non-banking channels.
“For this, we will examine all their financial transactions, travel details, usage of money in different events and identify the handlers of money. Saad and his associates will also be summoned soon,” said the officer.
Saad has claimed so far that he is in self-quarantine and hasn’t joined Delhi Police investigation.
Earlier this month, Jamaat had issued a statement in which it denied allegations against the organisation.
A senior government official said that Income Tax department may also soon start looking into possible non-declaration of income, tax evasion by the trustees of Tablighi Jamaat and channeling of funds for personal gains.
The Delhi government and Delhi Police have maintained that Tablighi Jamaat members were asked much in advance to vacate the Markaz at Nizamuddin, but they violated the directions risking many lives.