The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad has arrested the son of an accused in an alleged religious conversion racket. Police said Abdullah, son of Umar Gautam, was allegedly involved in securing funds for large scale conversions. He was arrested from Noida Saturday.
Since June, the UP ATS has made several arrests in connection with what they claim is a country-wide religious conversion syndicate allegedly run at Gautam’s behest.
“It was found during investigation that Abdullah had been receiving dubious funding in various bank accounts. He was directly in touch with other accused of the syndicate and was involved in getting money for conversion operations. He is an important member of the entire religious conversion racket and worked closely with Umar. Further details of his activities are being ascertained,” claimed the UP ATS in a statement. Police will seek his remand to gather more details, an officer said.
Police claimed Abdullah received Rs 75 lakh in bank accounts out of which Rs 17 lakh was from foreign sources. The accused would allegedly give out cash incentives to those who converted, said police. “It is suspected that the accused purchased properties using the funds they received,” claimed the officer.
So far, the UP ATS claims to have found evidence of hawala funding to the tune of nearly Rs 57 crore received by Gautam and his aides.
Police said Abdullah used to look after his father’s madrasa and organisation, Islamic Dawah Center, which had allegedly been carrying out conversions.
The family used to live in Batla House before they shifted following Gautam’s arrest in June. Abdullah continued to live in the fourth-floor apartment briefly.
“The family stayed here for years but left after the arrest of Umar Gautam. They kept to themselves… Following the media presence, they decided to live somewhere else. The son, Abdullah, had an office nearby,” said the building caretaker.