New Delhi: Foreign nationals from five countries on Monday did not plead guilty and claimed trial after not accepting the mild charges under the plea bargain process in the Tablighi Jamaat case.
Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) from the UK, Russia, Sudan, Jordan, the US and Kazakhstan have claimed trial. Plea bargaining is a pretrial negotiation between the accused and the prosecution where the accused agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser punishment.
Besides this, the court allowed foreign nationals from Algeria, Belgium, the UK, Egypt, the Philippines, Sudan, China, Morocco, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Fiji, Australia, Brazil and Afghanistan to walk free after levying penalty under the plea bargaining process.
They all had participated in the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz in March this year in alleged violation of the visa norms and guidelines issued by the Indian government in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Meanwhile, passports of some Malaysian and Saudi nationals have been ordered to be released, and they have been allowed to go back to their countries, said Advocate S. Hari Haran, who is representing the foreign nationals.
The Crime Branch of Delhi Police had named more than 900 foreign nationals in connection with the case. They have not been arrested, though the Centre has cancelled their visa and blacklisted them.
An FIR was registered against Tablighi Jamaat leader Maulana Saad Kandhalvi and others on March 31.
The accused have been charged under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Disaster Management Act, and also for violating the prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).