New Delhi: A Delhi court Thursday granted bail to 76 foreigners from eight countries who were chargesheeted for attending Tablighi Jamaat congregation here allegedly in violation of visa norms. They also indulged in missionary activities illegally and violated government guidelines issued in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur granted the relief to the foreigners on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000 each. Till date, 289 foreign nationals from 30 different countries, who were chargesheeted in the case, have been granted bail by the court.
The police had in June filed 59 charge sheets including supplementaries, against 956 foreigners belonging to 36 different countries in the case.
The accused who were granted bail Thursday will file their plea bargaining applications Friday, said advocate Ashima Mandla, appearing for some of them.
Under plea bargaining, the accused plead guilty to the offence, praying for a lesser punishment. The Criminal Procedure of Code allows for plea bargaining in cases where the maximum punishment is seven-year imprisonment; offences don’t affect the socio-economic conditions of the society and the offence is not committed against a woman or a child below 14 years.
During the hearing, all the foreigners were produced before the court through video conferencing. They belonged to Mali, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Djibouti, Tanzania, South Africa and Myanmar, said advocates Mandakini Singh, Fahim Khan and Ahmad Khan, appearing for the accused.
The court had granted bail to 122 Malaysians Tuesday and 91 other foreigners from 21 countries Wednesday.
The investigating officer had earlier told the court that the investigation was completed against the 956 foreigners in the case and each has been allegedly found to have independently committed the offence for which he /she has been chargesheeted. Further investigations are pending, the IO said.
These foreigners had attended the event in March, following which in April COVID-19 cases across the country spiked after hundreds of Tablighi Jamaat members, who had attended the religious congregation at Nizamuddin Markaz event, tested positive.