In the latest development of the Tablighi Jamaat case, where Markaz Nizamuddin head Maulana Saad Kandhalvi and six others had been booked by the Delhi Police on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder (IPC Section 304), Crime Branch has found that the viral audio clip alleged to be Saad’s is doctored. The audio clip mentioned in the police FIR against Saad was registered on the basis of a complaint by SHO (Hazrat Nizamuddin) Mukesh Walia, who alleged that “an audio recording purportedly by Maulana Mohd Saad was found in circulation on WhatsApp on March 21, in which the speaker was heard asking his followers to defy the lockdown and social distancing, and to attend the religious gathering of the Markaz”. Also Read - Unlock 1 in Goa: Despite Chief Minister's Nod, Mosques to Remain Shut Till June 30
Saad and six other people associated with the management committee of the Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid, the headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat outfit, were then booked by Delhi Police for allegedly going ahead with a gathering of around 2,000 people, including foreigner, at Nizamuddin West mosque in March despite the nationwide lockdown which resulted in several COVID-19 cases across the country. Recently, Delhi Police Crime Branch found that the audio clip in the FIR may be “doctored” and stitched together using several audio files and sent them to a forensic science laboratory. A man in the audio clip mentioned in the FIR can be heard saying “there is no need for social distancing as it is not written about in our religion”. Also Read - Oxford Journal Adds 'Lessons From Bhagwad Gita' to Its Paper on 'COVID-19 And Healthcare Workers', Relates With Religious Text
As per the report in the daily, the team led by Inspector Satish Kumar, has so far recovered no such clip from the laptop. Moreover, Saad’s comments on police and religion from other events had been taken out of context and doctored, as found out by the investigators. In an interview earlier with The Indian Express, Special CP (Crime) Praveer Ranjan had said, “We have found an audio clip going viral on social media, and are now sending it to forensic experts. We are gathering evidence to substantiate that they went ahead with the event despite warnings by several agencies.” Also Read - Lockdown Had an Impact in Slowing Transmission But Risk of Increase in Cases Looms as India Opens up, Says WHO
As per a report in The Indian Express, the police seized a laptop from a Markaz member and a source revealed to the news agency that “After scanning them, police found there are over 350 audio clips in three forms — raw clips of Markaz events; audio clips sent to their followers; and ones uploaded on their YouTube channel.” The source had added, “The investigation team noticed that the viral audio is a mix of several clips, which have been edited and doctored. They heard all audio clips again and found that statements from around 20 had been used. Kumar informed his seniors about the development and was asked to send all clips as well as the viral audio to the FSL for further examination.”
After evacuating about 1,600 people from the Markaz building in Nizamuddin where a Tablighi congregation was arranged by Saad amid novel coronavirus pandemic, Delhi Police on March 31 registered a First Information Report (FIR) against him and others of Tablighi Jamaat under sections of Epidemic Disease Act.
The chief of Tablighi Jamaat Maulana Saad Khandalvi, who has been on the run after an FIR was registered against him was traced to his residence in Zakir Nagar last month. His lawyer Tauseef Khan had, however, maintained that Saad was under self-quarantine and would join investigation after his quarantine period was over.