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CBI initiates inquiry into financial affairs of Tablighi Jamaat over ‘dubious cash transactions’

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary
| New Delhi |

Updated: May 29, 2020 5:45:49 pm

Maulana Saad is the amir of the Tablighi Jamaat, headquartered in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin area. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has initiated a preliminary inquiry into the financial affairs of the religious organisation Tablighi Jamaat and is being probed for “dubious cash transactions” and for concealing foreign funding from the government.

Sources said a case has been registered on the basis of a complaint from the Foreigners Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs alleging that the organisation has violated Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

“The CBI has registered a PE against the organisers of Tablighi Jamaat and other unknown persons. On a complaint alleging that the organisers and trustees were indulging into dubious cash transactions by using illegal and unfair means and also in non-disclosure of receipt of foreign funds to competent authority,” CBI spokesperson RK Gaur said.

The development comes days after the Delhi police filed multiple chargesheets against the Tablighi Jamaat, its members and its chief Maulana Saad Kandhalvi. In March, authorities had raided the Alami Markaz of the organisation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area and evacuated more than 3,000 people staying there for a religious congregation.

Multiple members of the Jamaat were found positive for Covid-19 and several others who had fanned out across the country were alleged to have spread the virus. The Jamaat was accused of organising the event in violation of government orders to avoid gatherings in the wake of Covid outbreak, an allegation the Jamaat has denied.

Sources said the CBI has already taken all chargesheets filed by the Delhi Police in the case and also copies of case papers and other related details which include Delhi Police’s probe into Jamaat’s financial dealings through multiple bank accounts.

CBI is the third agency after the Delhi Police and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to register a case in the matter.

On April 16, ED had registered a case of money laundering against the Jamaat. Following raids at the Jamaat Markaz in Nizamuddin in March, where it was found that over 2,000 Tablighi foreigners had come to India on tourist visas and over 800 had fanned out across the country engaging in proselytising activities, the Ministry of Home Affairs had blacklisted over 1,700 overseas members of the outfit for visa violations.

The first FIR in the matter was filed by the SHO of Nizamuddin Police Station with the Delhi Police Crime Branch early April. It had named seven people, including Maulana Saad, associated with the management committee of the Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid, headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat outfit, for allegedly going ahead with a gathering of around 2,000 people at the mosque in Nizamuddin West despite warnings from agencies.

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