The Crime Branch of Delhi Police has informed the Delhi High Court that not a single foreign national related to the Tablighi Jamaat incident has been arrested so far or has been taken into custody by the Delhi Police.
The said information was given in the Criminal Writ Petition filed by Mohammad Jamal, seeking the release of foreign nationals related to the Markaz event from the institutional quarantine centre as they have tested negative for the COVID19 virus.
Delhi Police also informed the court that more than 900 foreign Tablighi Jamaat attendees, including the Petitioners, have joined investigation of the
case and were served notices under section 41A of the CrPC.
Currently the said foreign nationals are lodged in the following quarantine centers in Delhi with approximate count:
1. Narela - 183
2. Wazirabad - 266
3. Rouse Avenue - 92
4. Dwarka - 77
5. New Friends Colony - 245+84=329 (both centers)
The investigation itself, the status report states, is being conducted on a day to day basis and all efforts are being made to finalise the investigation and submit a report under section 173 CrPC.
As per the said report, the concerned foreign nationals have given an undertaking to the Delhi Police that they would not violate the conditions under section 41(a) CRPC and abide by the terms of the notice.
The status report further states that:
'in order to substantiate the legitimacy of their visit to India, passports of 723 accused foreigners and Identity Cards of 23 accused Nepal Nationals have been taken into possession through seizure/handing over memos. Some of the accused foreign nationals were unable to provide / produce their passports. Efforts are being made to account for all the passports in this regard.'
In the present PIL, the Petitioner has asked the court to order the Delhi Government to order and facilitate immediate release of foreign nationals held in institutional quarantine in Delhi having tested negative for covid-19 as quarantine in perpetuity shall tantamount to illegal detention.
While highlighting that the FIRs for the Markaz event has been registered against the unknown persons, the petition states:
'The Impugned Order mentioning 567 foreign nationals fails to clarify if the aforementioned persons have previously been blacklisted and booked by the Police officials.Furthermore, it is unclear It is to be regarded that the power to
grant police custody (Section 167) as well as the power to arraign a person(Section 319), suspected of a crime for the purposes of investigation vests with the Judiciary under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Resultantly, the contents of
Paragraph 5 and the consequential implication is contrary to the law of the land and thus cannot be upheld.'
The Petitioners are being represented by Senior Advocate Rebecca M John, and Advocate Ashima Mandla
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