NEW DELHI—A Delhi court has acquitted 36 foreigners, who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event at Markaz Nizamuddin in March this year. They hailed from 14 different countries. They can now return to their respective countries.
The police had charged them of violating the government guidelines pertaining to Covid-19 pandemic and violating visa norms.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arun Kumar Garg, who acquitted the foreigners on all charges, observed that the police failed to prove the presence of the accused persons inside the Markaz and there were also huge contradictions in the statements of witnesses submitted to the court by the police.
The accused had submitted to the court that none of them were in the Markaz and that they were picked up by the police from different places and were framed by the police on directions of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The police had filed chargesheets against 955 foreigners for alleged charges of visa violations and as also the notifications with regard to Covid-19 pandemic.
The court expressed surprise as to how Investigating Officer Inspector Satish Kumar, found 952 Tablighi foreigners, out of a total of 2,343, flouting the government guidelines, without holding identification parade.
Advocate Fahim Khan representing the accused persons said that the prosecution failed to prove that the Tablighis did not maintain social distancing.
While 908 Tablighi foreigners were discharged from the case through a process of plea bargain in Delhi, 44 decided to fight the charges of visa violations as also violations of Covid-19 guidelines. While eight of them were discharged by the court in August this year as no evidence was found against the, 36 others were discharged on Tuesday.
(The story was written by Kashif Ahmad Faraz)