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ED files money laundering case against Tablighi Jamaat leader Maulana Saad Kandhalvi | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Compliance Directorate (DE) has filed a money laundering case against Tablighi Jamaat leader Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, who trusts Jamaat and others, officials said Thursday.

They said the agency has released a Compliance Case Information Report (ECIR) based on a FIR by the Delhi Police.

A criminal case under the Money Laundering Prevention Act (PMLA) has been filed against Kandhalvi, the trusts linked to him and Jamaat and a few others, a senior official said.

On March 31, the Delhi Police criminal branch filed an FIR against seven people, including the cleric, over a complaint by the Station Officer at the Nizamuddin Police Station for maintaining a congregation of Tablighi Jamaat supporters on alleged violation of orders against large gatherings to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Authorities said the DE has worked on the finances and transactions of Tablighi Jamaat and its office bearers in recent days and has obtained various documents from banks and financial intelligence gathering agencies.

He is soon expected to issue a summons to Kandhalvi, who is reportedly in quarantine, for questioning in the case. The agency, they said, is also analyzing the opinion of medical experts on Kandhalvi’s claim of self-quarantine following exposure to COVID-19.

Kandhalvi had organized the religious meeting at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi last month against the Center’s social distancing protocol to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

ED is also looking into the personal finances of Kandhalvi and some other Tablighi Jamaat office bearers and associates, they said.

Certain donations received by the Islamic organization from foreign and domestic sources are also under the agency’s scanner, authorities said.

In an audio message posted at some point, Kandhalvi had said he was quarantining after several hundred people who visited the congregation in Nizamudddin Markaz tested positive for coronavirus.

The police FIR registered against the Tablighi Jamaat event says that the Delhi Police contacted the Nizamuddin Markaz authorities on March 21 and reminded them of the government order prohibiting any political or religious gathering of more than 50 people.

He says that despite repeated efforts, the organizers of the event did not inform the health department or any other government agency of the large gathering within the Markaz and deliberately disobeyed government orders.

The sub-district defense colony magistrate inspected the premises multiple times and found that around 1,300 people, including foreigners, resided there without maintaining social distance.

It was also discovered that there were no fixes for hand sanitizers and face masks, FIR said.

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The Nizamudddin center, visited by thousands, turned out to be a coronavirus hot spot not only in the national capital, but across the country.

More than 25,500 Tablighi members and their contacts were quarantined in the country after the Center and state governments carried out a “mega operation” to identify them.

At least 9,000 people participated in the religious congregation in Nizamuddin. Later, many of the attendees traveled to various parts of the country.

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