Police booked a 68-year-old man from Ahmedabad on Monday for allegedly hiding his travel history to Nizamuddin Markaz in New Delhi earlier this March, even as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among the Tabighi Jamaat members reached 12 in the state.
According to police, Mahmad Iliyas Sheikh, a resident of Dariyapur in Ahmedabad, has been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 188, 269 and 270 for disobeying order given by public servant, negligent act likely to spread infectious disease and malignant act likely to spread infectious disease respectively along with section of the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Police officials said that the accused had travelled to New Delhi for the markaz congregation event and returned to Ahmedabad on March 11.
“The accused did not inform the police or any government agency regarding his travel despite the lockdown and the news of Nizamuddin markaz being hotspot of coronavirus,” read the complaint against Sheikh in the first information report filed by the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Crime Branch, Ahmedabad. Gujarat Director General of Police Shivanand Jha said that the number of positive COVID-19 cases among the Tablighi Jamaat workers rose to 12 by Monday. Till now, a total of 126 workers have been identified in Gujarat out of which 12 tested positive for coronavirus. Out of 12, two have died (one in Bhavnagar, one in Ahmedabad) and among the remaining 10, one is from Chhota Udepur while nine others are from Ahmedabad. “Till now, we have identified 126 workers in Gujarat and our probe is going on. Today, four more workers turned out to be positive and all are from Ahmedabad, taking the total count to 12,” said Jha.
Sheikh said that he had left for New Delhi on March 6 along with six other accomplices. “We returned by March 11. till then there were no talks about the lockdown so there was no question of informing the local police. on April 1, an SOG team turned up at my house and started questioning me. We have been asked to stay at Tapi apartments for 14 days for quarantine,” said Sheikh.
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