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ED books Tablighi Jamaat for money laundering

Sources said the agency registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (equivalent to an FIR) against the outfit and its leadership under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.




The Enforcement Directorate has registered a case of money laundering against Tablighi Jamaat, in the dock for holding a religious congregation in Delhi in March, which led to a spread in coronavirus infections.

Sources said the agency registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (equivalent to an FIR) against the outfit and its leadership under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The agency has taken cognisance of multiple FIRs registered by Delhi police against the Jamaat and its members.

“The Delhi police has invoked sections such as 304 (culpable homicide) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC against the outfit and its members. These fall under the schedule of PMLA. We will now investigate their finances, source of funds and their assets. Depending upon the outcome of the probe, their properties will be attached, ” a senior ED official said.

The Indian Express had on April 4 reported that ED was examining Delhi Police FIRs against the Tablighi Jamaat and would register a case under PMLA in due course.

Following raids at the Jamaat Markaz at Nizamuddin last month, 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 religious activities, the Ministry of Home Affairs had blacklisted over 1,700 overseas members of the outfit for visa condition violations.

The Delhi police Crime Branch has already registered cases against the Jamaat and its leader Maulana Saad Kandhalvi. Sections related to culpable homicide have recently been added. Notably, the Delhi police too had been probing the Jamaat’s finances, as it had sought details of its income tax returns and bank accounts. The ED, however, felt it was better placed to probe the Jamaat’s finances, as that is its domain expertise.

An FIR filed by the SHO of Nizamuddin police station with the Delhi police Crime Branch has 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. The event has been linked to a spike in COVID-19 cases across the country.

ED is already probing finances behind the protests organised in Delhi and elsewhere against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). In a probe report sent to Ministry of Home Affairs earlier it had blamed Popular Front of India among others for financing the protests at Shaheen Bagh.

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