NIA asks banks to freeze accounts of Zakir Naik and banned Islamic Research Foundation

NIA has written to Union Home Ministry for blocking websites and other online activities of IRF.

Updated: Nov 23, 2016, 22:42 PM IST
NIA asks banks to freeze accounts of Zakir Naik and banned Islamic Research Foundation
Pic courtesy: @zakirnaikirf

Delhi: The NIA has written to banks asking them to freeze accounts of banned Islamic Research Foundation and its founder Zakir Naik.

As per media reports, the NIA has also written to Union Home Ministry for blocking websites and other online activities of Naik and IRF.

On November 19, the NIA had registered a case against Naik and his organisation 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 had come barely four days after the Union government had 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 had 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 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).

IRF came under the scanner of various security agencies after one of the terrorists involved in the Dhaka cafe attack had allegedly posted on social media that they had been inspired by Naik's speeches.

Some of the youths from Mumbai suburbs, who had left their home to join Islamic State earlier this year, were also allegedly inspired by the preacher. 

The speeches of Naik, who is currently out of the country apparently to evade arrest, are banned in the UK, Canada and Malaysia.

MHA has alleged that the NGO had "dubious" links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, accused of propagating terrorism.

According to the Home Ministry, Naik, who heads the IRF, had allegedly made many provocative speeches and engaged in terror propaganda.

Maharashtra Police has also registered criminal cases against Naik for his alleged involvement in radicalising Muslim youth and luring them into terror activities.

Naik was alleged to have transferred IRF's funds received from abroad to Peace TV for making "objectionable" programmes. Most of the programmes, which were made in India, allegedly contained hate speeches of Naik, who had reportedly "urged all Muslims to be terrorists" through Peace TV.

An educational trust run by Naik has already been barred from receiving foreign funds and probe agencies are looking into their activities.

(With PTI inputs)