A year after Tabligh-e-Jamaat's Markaz in Nizamuddin West came under criticism for holding a religious congregation amid the COVID-19 outbreak, its cleric Maulana Saad Kandhalvi against whom a case was registered in connection with the incident is yet to join the probe despite several notices by Delhi Police.
The meet in March 2020 was attended by thousands of Jamaat members from different states, along with hundreds of foreigners.
After several of them tested positive for the infection, a nationwide search operation was carried out by respective state governments to locate and quarantine them on the direction of the Centre.
Taking action against the organisers of the congregation, Delhi Police's Crime Branch on March 31, 2020 lodged a case against seven people, including Kandhalvi, on a complaint by Station House Officer Nizamuddin under sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act (2005), Foreigners Act and other relevant sections of Indian Penal Code.
Maulana Saad Kandhalvi was later charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder after some of the attendees of the congregation died due to coronavirus.
According to the police, Maulana Saad Kandhalvi is yet to join the probe despite several notices issued to him by the investigators but statements of his sons and office-bearers of the Markaz were recorded in connection with the case.
Most of the forensic reports of documents and electronic devices seized from the centre have been received while a few is still awaited, a senior police officer said.
However, in December last year, a Delhi court acquitted 36 foreigners, who were listed in a charge sheet for attending the Tablighi Jamaat congregation by allegedly being negligent and disobeying the government guidelines issued in wake of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arun Kumar Garg had said the prosecution failed to prove the presence of the accused at the Nizamuddin Markaz premises from March 12 to April 1.
According to the list of evacuees, none of the accused had COVID-19 symptoms and hence, there was no question of any negligent act on their part, the court had said in its order.