New Delhi: After Tablighi Jamaat and its chief Maulana Saad hit headlines in March for allegedly flouting the lockdown by organising a religious congregation at its markaz (headquarters) in Nizamuddin and thereby reportedly contributing to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the national capital and across the country, the Delhi Police has dragged Saad’s name in connection with communal violence that rocked North-East Delhi in February this year.
Saad’s name has found mention in the chargesheet wherein Rajdhani Public School owner Faisal Farooq along with 17 others has been charged under several Sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), such as 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons), 149 (unlawful assembly), 307 (attempt to murder), 395 (dacoity), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc.), 455 (wrongful restraint), 153A (promoting enmity between different religious groups), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), 201 (causing destruction or disappearance of evidence), 114 (abettor present when offence is committed), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) and Arms Act’s sections 25 (unlawful possession of firearms and ammunitions) and 27 (using illegal firearm and ammunition).
All the accused are at present in judicial custody.
Though the Tablighi Jamaat has found mention in an earlier chargesheet, its chief’s name has cropped up for the first time in connection with the violence, which killed 53 people and injured over 200. Properties worth crores were torched or destroyed.
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In the chargesheet filed in the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Singh Rajawat at Karkardooma Court in FIR No. 134/2020 registered at PS Crime Branch, the investigators have tried to establish a link between Faisal Farooq and Maulana Saad by alleging that the rise of the Maulana in Tablighi Jamaat coincided with the rise of Farooque.
“After Saad rose to power in Tablighi Jamaat, it has been noticed that Faisal Farooque has also risen in terms of acquisition of real estate in Northeast district,” says the chargesheet.
The cops further alleged, based on Farooque’s call record details (CDR), that he was a regular visitor at the Banglewali Masjid (which is Tablighi Jamaat’s international headquarters). They allege that the accused was in contact with Maulana Saad through his close associate Abdul Aleem, who is mutawalli (caretaker) of the Nizamuddin markaz’s mosque.
“Faisal Farooq played a pivotal role in organising riots in and around Rajdhani School. Abdul Aleem, by virtue of holding an important position in the Tablighi Jamaat leadership, could have played a role in facilitating Faisal Farooq,” the investigators have alleged, adding that further probe into this aspect of the case was still being done.
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Commenting on the chargesheet, Maulana Saad’s lawyer Shahid Ali told Newsclick: “The allegations are false and Maulana Saad and the Markaz have nothing to do with this case. Markaz Nizamuddin is visited by people from across the country and abroad and Maulana Saad has huge following across the world. This doesn’t mean he has a role to play in the money they earn. These claims are baseless.”
Referring to the recent police encounter killing of a gangster in Uttar Pradesh, Ali asked: “Vikas Dubey had photographs with several politicians. Does that mean all of them were involved in the crime he committed?”
“If there is any fraudulent acquisition of property by Mr Faisal Farooq, let the ED investigate. But linking it with Maulana Saad is nothing but height of concoction,” he said, concluding that the chargesheet just has a “reference” of Maulana Saad and the markaz. “He (the maulana) has not been chargesheeted,” he further added.
Farooq’s counsel R K Kochar declined to comment, adding that whatever he has to say, he will say in the court. “Truth will prevail one day,” he said.
The chargesheet also mentions Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Mustafabad, Haji Yunus, as an “intermediary” along with others, a charge that has been rubbished by the politician. “These allegations are based on assumptions. Let them (the police) prove it in a court of law. No one has so far contacted me in this regard,” he said.
Mustafabad-based Al-Hind Hospital’s owner Dr M A Anwar, who had provided emergency treatment to riots victims, also finds a mention in the chargesheet.
Reacting to the mention of his name for the third time in a riot chargesheet, Anwar said he is “not scared” as he has done “nothing wrong”. “I gave medical aid to the victims irrespective of their religion and that’s not a crime. Only those who have committed crimes should be fearful,” he added.
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The chargesheet also states Farooque was in contact with the Jamia Coordination Comittee (JCC), the Pinjra Tod group, the Popular Front of India (PFI) and local Muslim clerics.
After Farooque was recently granted bail, a Delhi court observed that the “chargesheet is bereft of material showing the links of applicant with PFI, Pinjra Tod group and Muslim clerics”.