The Delhi Police have told a local court that there was no evidence to file culpable homicide not amounting to murder charges against the 956 foreign nationals who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi in March, News 18 reported on Thursday.
The police, however, added that they were still conducting investigations against other accused people, including Maulana Saad Kandhlawi and his son. Kandhlawi has been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder after some of the attendees died of the coronavirus.
Thousands of Indians and hundreds of foreigners had attended the Tablighi Jamaat conference held in the Nizamuddin area early in March. It later emerged as a coronavirus hotspot. After the event, many participants returned home across the country while others travelled to meetings, raising concerns about the scale of the potential spread of infection. The Tablighi Jamaat is a Sunni Muslim sect with followers in over 80 countries.
“During investigation no evidence came against above foreigners under Sections 304/308/336/120B IPC, hence they were not charge sheeted in the above offences,” a police report to Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur said. These sections pertain to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, the attempt to commit such a crime, acts endangering others’ lives and criminal conspiracy. If convicted, a person can spend up to 10 years in jail under these charges.
The police said they have completed investigation against these 956 foreigners and filed 48 chargesheets and 11 supplementary chargesheets. They would be tried for violating visa rules and other government guidelines that were imposed after the Covid-19 pandemic broke. Besides the Indian Penal Code, they have been booked under provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act, and for violating prohibitory orders imposed under the Code of Criminal Procedure, according to PTI.
The police provided these details when the magistrate sought a clarification after the foreigners filed for bail. The court had granted bail to 122 Malaysians on Tuesday and people from 21 countries on Wednesday. The 956 foreigners include people from 36 countries such as Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Afghanistan, China, UK, Russia, USA, Brazil, Ukraine, Egypt, Belgium, France, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Tunisia and Sudan. They have not been arrested but placed in hotels approved by the Delhi High Court.
The Centre has blacklisted over 2,500 Tablighi members and prohibited their entry into the country for 10 years. The action was taken after several state governments submitted information on those who had been accused of illegally living in mosques and seminaries.