The Maharashtra Police is set to register a first information report (FIR) against Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik, after the state law and judiciary department sent in its opinion that a case may be made out against him for inciting enmity.
“After it emerged that one of the Bangladesh bombers cited Zakir Naik’s preachings, the chief minister asked the Mumbai Police to prepare a report on whether his speeches incited youth. The report was submitted to the Law and Judiciary department. They have said a case can be made out against Naik under Section 153 (A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for inciting hatred,” said a senior official from the state home department.
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“The department has found at least eight instances wherein a case under the said section of the IPC could be registered,” the source said, adding that the FIR is likely to be registered within a month.
Meanwhile, in the probe being carried out by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), alleged Islamic State (IS) recruit Ashfaque Majeed’s father has revealed that Arshi Qureshi, guest manager with the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), had allegedly funded Ashfaque and his fellow recruits’ Sri Lanka trip.
After Abu Anas, another alleged IS recruit from Rajasthan who the NIA believes received a Rs-80,000 scholarship from the IRF, this is the second instance in which the now banned NGO is suspected to have spent its funds on alleged IS recruits.
“Ashfaque’s father Kader claims that while leaving for Sri Lanka in February this year, Ashfaque told him that Qureshi was funding the tour. In all, 21 people were attending a small course on ‘Learning Quran’. Qureshi had also paid money to make their passports,” said an official.
According to Kader, on February 23, Ashfaque left for Sri Lanka, where he stayed in Jaffna.
He later returned to India in the first week of March and stayed mostly in Kerala. On May 24, he came to Mumbai for a week, before leaving for Afghanistan in June along with his wife and their 18-month-old daughter.
Based on the complaint by Kader, the Mumbai Crime branch had arrested Qureshi, Rizwan Khan of Al-Birr Foundation and Mohammed Haneef, a maulana from Kerala. Last month, the case was transferred to the NIA, which is probing the larger case of 21 Kerala-based youth who were allegedly radicalised and then fled the country to join the Islamic State.
The IRF has said they plan to challenge the validity of the FIR filed by the NIA.
“The case under UAPA is based on cases for which an FIR had already been registered, and therefore the new FIR is invalid,” an IRF spokes-person said.
The NIA has also written to banks asking them to freeze Naik’s bank accounts.