Tablighi Jamat event: Investigation on in gathering of people, no need for CBI probe: Centre to SC

The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that probe into assembly of people at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal in east Delhi and at Tablighi Jamaat event in Nizamuddin Markaz is being conducted on day-to-day basis by the Delhi police and there was no need for CBI investigation.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) gave in detail the steps taken by the Delhi Police which is making all efforts to complete the investigation within the time frame to submit the charge sheet in the trial court.
It told the top court that due to fake media reports and circulation of certain misinformation in the areas of Delhi, thousands of migrants gathered at Anand Vihar Bus terminal and Ghazipur border area on March 28.
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy directed the Delhi government, Delhi Transport Corporation to file their reply and allowed the petitioner Supriya Pandita to file rejoinder affidavits and listed the matter for further hearing after two weeks.
Pandita in her plea had sought various reliefs including CBI probe into the matter related to the assembly of people at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal and Markz in Nizamuddin after nationwide lockdown was announced alleging that Delhi police has failed to control the people and the Nizamuddin Markaz chief Maulana Saad was still evading arrest.
On the steps taken by Delhi police, the MHA in its affidavit said that probe in Markaz matter is being conducted on a day-to- day basis, in accordance with the mandate of law and all efforts are being made to finalize investigation and submit a report under section 173 CrPC (charge sheet) before the trial court in a time bound manner.
‘In view of the facts and circumstances it is respectfully submitted that prayer D (direction for CBI probe) of the writ petition does not merits any consideration by this court,’ the reply affidavit said, adding that plea needs to be disposed of.
On the sequence of events, the MHA said that Maulana Saad and others had allowed a huge gathering to assemble inside a closed premise, over a protracted period of time, without any semblance of social distances or provision of masks and sanitizers and have caused a situation where a highly infectious disease such as Covid-19 may spread and threaten the lives of inmates.
It said that inspection of Markaz was conducted by SDM on various dates between March 26 and March 30 and during such inspection around 1300 persons from various States as well as foreign countries were found residing in the premises without maintaining any social distance with each other.
‘It is submitted that Maulana Mohd. Saad, others and the management of Markaz had deliberately, wilfully, negligently committed acts which were in direct contravention and to the lawful directions of the government and public servants”, the affidavit said.
It added that a case was lodged against Maulana Saad under various provisions including The Epidemic Disease Act, Disaster Management Act and sections of IPC with crime branch police station and during the investigation of the case charges under Foreigners Act was also added.
‘In so far as the issue of assembly of people at Markaz in Nizamuddin is concerned, I respectfully state and submit that an FIR bearing FIR no. 63/2020 dated March 31, in this has already been lodged and the investigation in the said case, by the crime branch of Delhi police is already at an advanced state,’ the affidavit filed by Ran Vilas Premi, under-secretary of MHA, said.
The Ministry pointed out that there was no negligence or delay in dealing with the issue of Markaz incident and police had on March 21 contacted the authorities of Tablighi Jamaat Headquarters and apprised them of Covid-19 situation and was directed to send the foreigners back to their respective countries and Indians to their native places.
‘However, no one paid any heed to the lawful directions of Delhi police and to the contrary, an audio recording purportedly by Maulana Mohd. Saad head of the Tablighi Jamaat, was found to be 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 the Markaz’, it added.
The MHA said that hundreds foreigners have already joined the investigation in this case and the probe has revealed that most of them had arrived on a tourist visa or e-visa obtained on false pretext and 960 such foreigners had been blacklisted on April 2 for their involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities.
With regard to assembly of migrant workers in Delhi and other parts of the country, the ministry said that despite substantial financial package announced by the Centre, the distressed members of society, some of the migrant workers due to anxiety, instigation and other psychological reasons started a journey to their home on foot.
Regarding huge congregation of migrant workers at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal in Delhi, the government said that the gathering occurred due to fake media reports that 1000 buses for travel of stranded migrants to their home state would be available.
It said that necessary action has been taken in this regard to counter the rumours and also steps taken that there is no repetition of similar incidents and FIRs was lodged against erring bus drivers for transporting the migrant workers towards Anand Vihar.