Updated: December 16, 2020 6:08:01 AM
Noting that the prosecutor’s office failed to “prove the presence of the accused inside Markaz” and noting “contradictions” in the statements of its witnesses, a Delhi court acquitted 36 foreigners on Tuesday for violating Covid’s guidelines while participating. at a Tablighi Jamaat event in Nizamuddin in March, which was later linked to infections in 14 states.
During the adoption of the order, Chief Metropolitan Arun Kumar Garg picked up the station officer from Hazrat Nizamuddin, who was the complainant in the case, and the investigating officer for deficiencies in identifying the accused.
Referring to the contradictions in the witnesses’ statements, the court acknowledged the likelihood of the plea by some of the defendants that “none of them were present at Markaz during the relevant period and were picked up from various places to prosecute them at the instructions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. .. ”
“The court cannot understand how the IO (Inspector Satish Kumar) could have identified 952 foreign nationals out of 2,343 people who, according to the SHO, were found in violation of the guidelines, without any identification of tests (TIP), but based on the list provided by the MHA (Ministry of Internal Affairs), “the court said.
The court also noted that SHO, Inspector Mukesh Walia, made improvements in his statement. “SHO was aware of the actual number of people gathered at Markaz from the beginning and has not yet taken timely measures to ensure the dispersion of those meetings, despite being aware of government guidelines,” he said.
“Otherwise, if he was not so aware of the actual or even approximate number that remained in Markaz until the last day of the evacuation exercise, he probably falsely testified about his daily visits to Markaz … In any case, the testimony he failed to pass the solvency test and, therefore, his identification of the accused persons in court is not sufficient to fulfill the task of the criminal investigation to prove the presence of the accused at Markaz during the relevant period “, said the court.
The defendant came from several countries, including the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Sudan, Tunisia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Indonesia.
Fahim Khan, the defendant’s lawyer, welcomed the ruling and said his clients were “falsely involved”. “I claimed that out of 36, 10 were not even present on the spot. The police submitted documents that showed their presence, which were contradictory. The prosecutor’s office could not prove that the accusers did not maintain the social distance or violated other Covid guidelines “, he said.
The verdict was also welcome. “We are happy with the trial,” said Irfan Khan, 39, a mechanical engineer from Australia who was on trial with his wife. Irfan said he came to Delhi to visit friends and religious places when he was detained. Like the other defendant, he spent 60 days in a detention center before being moved to a court-approved accommodation.
“I knew in India you could win a case if you defended it. In Australia, there was a judge who said if you really want to go to a masjid, if you want justice you go to court. That inspired me to fight my case, rather than take a plea bargain, “he said.
The 36 were the last defendants from abroad to be tried in this case. According to judicial data, 952 foreigners were accused of violating Covid violations by Delhi police. More than 900 of them pleaded guilty as part of a fair because they did not want to stay back in India to face the trial and wanted to reunite with their families.
The 36 are among 44 foreigners who have chosen to stand trial on charges of violating visa rules and Covid regulations – eight were released in August by the court after finding that there was no “prima facie evidence” against them.
The trial began on August 10 following the instructions of the Supreme Court, and the final arguments were heard in three days starting with December 3.
During the trial, the prosecution claimed that “social distancing and other guidelines were not followed and that large meetings were held without complying with the rules of social distancing and other safety instructions”.
Claiming that Covid’s rules are in the public domain, police claimed that “the accused persons participated both maliciously and carelessly and gathered in Markaz, thus increasing the spread of Corona virus infection.”
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