NIA books Zakir Naik for terror, searches IRF premises
Difficulties for Islamic preacher Zakir Naik mounted further on Saturday after the National Investigation Agency registered a case against him and his organisation Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) under anti-terror laws and for allegedly promoting enmity between groups on the basis of religion and race.
The anti-terror probe agency’s action came barely four days after the Union government declared IRF a banned organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
After registering case against the 51-year-old Naik, IRF and others, NIA sleuths along with Mumbai police carried out searches at 10 places in the megapolis, including residential premises of some of the office bearers of the foundation, which was earlier put on restricted list by the Union Home Ministry for receiving funds from abroad.
Naik, who has been staying in Saudi Arabia to evade arrest after his name surfaced during probe into the Bangladesh terror strike earlier this year, has been booked along with unnamed IRF officials under section 153-A of IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) beside various sections of UAPA.
“The searches are going on and many documents have been seized. The process of scrutinising and seizure will continue throughout the night,” NIA Director General Sharad Kumar said here.
He said future course of action would be decided after analysing every document seized. The Director General, however, refused to divulge further details about the search operation, saying “the process is on and it will be too premature for us to say anything as of now”.
However, sources in the probe agency said Rs 13.5 lakh cash and some gold have been seized from one of the locations.
Bank accounts of some of the office bearers and those of foundation were being scrutinised.
The charges slapped in the FIR, registered by the NIA’s Mumbai branch, also included sections 10 (being member of an unlawful organisation), 13 (punishment for being member of illegal organisation) and 18 of UAPA (punishment for being involved in a conspiracy for committing any terror act).