New Delhi, Apr 04, 2020: Nizamuddin’s Tablighi Jamaat chief Maulana Mohd. Saad Kandhalvi on Saturday (April 4) replied to a notice sent by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police saying he isn’t absconding but in self-quarantine and cannot join the probe till the Markaj is locked up. In a nine-page respond to the police, Maulana Saad also urged his followers to cooperate with the government.
According to IANS, the reply to the notice was handed over by Maulana Saad’s son and Jamaat Committee member Mohd. Yusuf Saad, who claimed that the statement was drafted in consultation with the Maulana, Zee reported.
"Media reports about the Jamaat headquarters since March 31 are only a part of conspiracy and attempt to defame the Markaz. Tablighi Jamaat doesn’’t have any connection with any political party," the statement read with the acceptance that the crime branch has registered a case against Maulana saad.
Maulana Saad, in his written statement, has termed the incident of Jamaat headquarters guests being positive for coronavirus, "a co-incidence" only. "This is a co-incidence. As soon as we got to know about the coronavirus, we banned the entry of guests in the headquarters. We have a record of every guest. The Jamaat headquarters made all possible efforts to send back all the guests to their homes," Maulana Saad said in his statement.
The notice, served under Section 91 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, does not require that Maulana Saad to appear before the police himself. Although, Saad has claimed that he has self-quarantined himself, the police is not aware of his current location. Saad, who originally hails from Muzaffarnagar, owns two houses in Delhi -- one in Zakir Nagar and the other in Nizamuddin; while he also owns a farmhouse in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli.
A manhunt has been launched by Delhi Police to find Maulana Saad who wields his influence over 100 crores Muslims residing in 200 countries across the world. According to sources, the Delhi Police will not arrest Maulana Saad.
On April 3, the Delhi Police posed at least 26 questions to Saad, the organiser of a religious meet in Delhi’s in Nizamuddin Markaz, that turned out to be the lone booster of staggering increase in the number of positive coroanvirus cases and deaths throughout the country. Relevant documents in support of the answers have been sought from the organiser of the event -- the Tablighi Jamaat wherein thousands of people from India and 41 foreign countries gathered amid COIVD-19 threat.
The police asked to provide information of the 26 questions under section 91 of Criminal Procedure Code. The Section 91 means ’summons to produce document or other thing’. One of the questions is: "Whether any permission from Delhi Police or other authority was obtained by the management of markaz (Centre) for holding religious gathering in this year?"
The police has sought information like `full name, address and registration details of the organisation`, details of office bearers, details of persons in Markaz committee and details of the Income Tax returns filed by the organisation in last three years.
It has also asked for the PAN number, bank account and bank statements of the organisation, list of employees working in the organisation and number of religious gatherings organised from January 1 till date. The cops also sought details of all devotees, including foreigners who came after March 12. They sought original register of the record of the people who attended the event after March 12. The crime branch unit of Delhi Police, which is probing the case, also sought details of persons from government agencies who visited Markaz after March 12.
The policemen, probing the case, further sought details of a map or site plan of the premises. It also asked whether CCTVs were installed in the premises and, if yes, then submit the details of the cameras
The sleuths also want to know whether any written guidelines issued to Mohammad Saad by any authority to hold religious events and any other correspondence between management and government authorities was there.
The police sought audio or video recording of the persons participating in the meet. The police also wanted to know whether any devotee fell sick during the meet.
The police sought information regarding all the steps that were taken to disperse the congregation at Markaz on March 12 and steps taken to disperse the congregation after promulgation of Section 144 CrPC on March 24.
The list of staff, volunteers and parking attendees and date-wise list of invitees after March 12 were also sought. The police also wanted to know the date wise list of inmates who were taken to hospital after March 12 and date wise list of inmates taken to mosques or other places.
The Delhi Police has booked Maulana Saad as one of the accused in a case registered for violation of Epidemic Act and Disaster Management Act on March 31. The case is registered under various sections of Epidemic Act and Disaster Management Act and Indian Penal Code.
Meanwhile, in another development, at least 10 police personnal, who were part of the team which evacuated people from the Nizamuddin Markaz building have been sent on leave as part of a "routine rotation process, confirmed Delhi Police.
The Tablighi Jamaat event at the Nizamuddin has emerged as a hotspot for COVID-19 after several positive cases from across India were linked to the gathering including deaths in Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Telangana.On Wednesday, the Delhi government, in a joint operation with the police, evacuated over 2,300 people from the Markaz and sanitised the area.