New Delhi: None of the 956 foreigners who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi would be charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, the police informed a Delhi court.
The submission was made on 6 July, while considering the case against foreigners from 36 countries who had attended the congregation in Nizamuddin Markaz, which emerged as one of the biggest Covid-19 hotspots in the country.
Inspector Satish Kumar, the investigating officer in the case, informed Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur that no evidence has come up against the foreigners till date to charge them under sections 304 (culpable homicide), 308 (attempt to culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
“The clarification received by the IO categorically specifies that the chargesheets have been filed against 956 Foreign Nationals / accused persons of 36 countries, till date during investigation no evidence has come against the above foreigners / accused persons u/s 304/308/336/120B IPC and hence they have not been chargesheeted for the above said offences,” the court noted.
The maximum sentence for culpable homicide — if the act is done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but without any intention to cause death — can be upto 10 years of jail term, along with fine.
Kumar also told the court that 48 chargesheets and 11 supplementary chargesheets have been filed so far and that no further investigation is pending against the foreigners.
They have instead been charged with provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act, IPC provisions including Section 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of life endangering disease), and the Foreigners Act 1946. Of these, the maximum sentence would be under the Foreigners Act for violating visa conditions — a period of 5 years along with fine.
The court then asked the accused from the different countries to appear before the court through video conferencing on various days, beginning 7 July till 16 July.
Accused willing to plead guilty
Accordingly, Kaur then granted bail to 122 Malaysian nationals chargesheeted in the case Tuesday, on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000. The court also forwarded their request for plea bargaining for an early hearing before Metropolitan Magistrate Siddharth Malik.
Plea bargaining means that they are willing to plead guilty to the offence and pray for a lesser punishment.
Kaur also granted bail to foreign nationals belonging to over 20 countries Wednesday, on a personal bond of Rs 10,000 each. These accused are also set to file their plea bargaining applications.
On Thursday, accused from Mali, Nigeria, Sri Langa, Djibouti, Tanzania, South Africa and Myanmar will be appearing before the court.
The accused from Bangladesh will appear before the court on 10 July. On 11 July, the accused from Thailand and Nepal, and on 13 July, the accused from Kyrgyzstan will be appearing before the court. The accused from Indonesia will be appearing through video conferencing on 14, 15 and 16 July.