The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that there is no need for a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the Tablighi Jamaat event held in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area in early March, India Today reported.
Thousands of Indians and hundreds of foreigners had attended the Tablighi Jamaat conference. It later emerged as a coronavirus hotspot. After the event, many participants returned home across the country while others travelled to meeting, raising concerns about the scale of the potential spread of infection. On April 5, the health ministry claimed that the religious gathering had pushed up the doubling rate of cases in India to 4.1 days from the estimated 7.4 days.
In an affidavit filed before the top court, the Centre said that the investigation into the Nizamuddin case is being conducted on a daily basis in accordance with the law. “Probe by Delhi Police Crime Branch into Tablighi Jamaat event at Nizamuddin Markaz at an advanced stage,” it added, according to The Indian Express. “It will be completed in time bound manner, hence plea for CBI probe does not merit any consideration.”
A petition sought inquiry into the alleged lapses by the Delhi government and the police for allowing such a large congregation to happen when coronavirus cases were rising in the country.
The Centre also refuted allegations that the Delhi Police was negligent in the matter. “Markaz authorities were apprised of the situation on March 21 itself and told to send foreign and domestic participants back to their respective places, but no one paid heed,” it claimed. “An audio recording purportedly by Maulana Mohd Saad, head of Tablighi Jamaat, was found in circulation on social media platforms in which the speaker was heard asking his followers to defy the lockdown and social distancing and to attend the religious gathering of Markaz.”
It said Markaz Nizamuddin chief Maulana Saad Kandhalvi deliberately and “wilfully ignored directions” to remove crowds, adding that an first information report has been filed.
The government said the passports and copies of visa application forms of the foreign participants of the conference “clearly show” they had obtained tourist visa or eVisa on a false pretext. It stated that the home ministry blacklisted 960 of these foreign Tablighi participants on April 2.