No need for CBI probe into Tablighi Jamaat event: Centre tells SC

In an affidavit, the Centre said police investigation is being conducted on a daily basis in this regard

Nizamuddin
Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind had on April 6 filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking directions for the government and media not to “demonise entire Muslim community over spread of Covid-19 due to Nizamuddin Markaz congregation of Tablighi Jamat”.

A separate probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is not required into the Tablighi Jamaat event at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi as proper investigation is already being conducted into the matter, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Friday (June 5).

In an affidavit to the top court, the government submitted that police investigation is being conducted on a daily basis in this regard, reported Bar and Bench. The Centre further said that efforts are being made to submit a report in a time bound manner.

“Probe by Delhi Police Crime Branch into Tablighi Jamat event at Nizamuddin Markaz at an advanced stage. It will be completed in time bound manner, hence plea for CBI probe does not merit any consideration,” Indian Express quoted the affidavit as saying.

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The Tablighi Jamaat congregation in March had reportedly become an epicentre for spread of the coronavirus in the country as hundreds of the attendees had tested positive for the infection. This included foreigners as well.

Asserting that there was no negligence in dealing with the matter, the government said that Markaz authorities were apprised of the situation on March 21, and that they were told to send the participants back. However, it said that no one paid heed.

The Centre also referred to an audio recording, in which Tablighi Jamaat head Maulana Mohd Saad was purportedly heard telling his followers to defy lockdown and social distancing, and to attend the religious gathering of the Markaz.

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The government’s submission came in response to a petition filed by Supriya Pandita, a Jammu-based lawyer, who had sought a CBI probe into the alleged lapses by the Delhi Police and the Delhi government, which led to the congregation in the national capital.

In its affidavit, the government further said the foreign attendees of the congregation had obtained tourist visas or eVisas on a false pretext, and that the Union home ministry had on April 2 blacklisted 960 such foreign participants, reports said.

The CBI had last week registered a preliminary enquiry into the financial affairs of the Tablighi Jamaat, acting on a complaint alleging “dubious cash transactions” by the trust of the organisation. Earlier, the Enforcement Directorate and the Delhi Police too had filed cases against the organisation.

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