Mumbai: The probe into the foreign funding of controversial preacher Zakir Naik-promoted Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) has been handed over by Mumbai Police to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
IRF was banned recently,
"As the NIA has registered an offence against Naik and its investigation into the case is in progress, we have handed over the probe to them," a senior officer of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police, said.
"We will provide whatever logistic support (to NIA) that is required," he said, as per PTI.
In August this year, the EOW of Mumbai Police had initiated a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) into IRF's foreign funding.
Naik had come under the scanner of the security agencies after Bangladeshi newspaper 'Daily Star' reported that one of the perpetrators of the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik.
The Centre recently banned the IRF and declared it as a terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for five years.
Earlier, Mumbai Police had submitted its report related to Naik and IRF's activities to the state government.
During the EOW investigation, it was revealed that around Rs 50 crore were allegedly deposited from abroad into various accounts of Naik, his wife and other relatives.
This funding was also under scanner under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
The NIA had registered an offence against Naik on November 18 for promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India through his public speeches and lectures on various platforms.
Naik 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 NIA had recently asked three banks to freeze 25 accounts of Naik, his family members and IRF. In addition, the NIA also handed over a list of over 12 people including Naik, his family members, close friends and organisations, to all 72 scheduled commercial banks to check whether these people had any account in these financial institutions.
The NIA has also written to the MHA for banning the website run by the IRF and as well as suspending its online activities, which includes videos of speeches on social networking sites.
However, Naik has claimed that there has been no misuse of funds by his banned NGO and has rejected all allegations of involvement in terror-related activities.
On November 27, remaining non-committal on returning to India, the 51-year-old televangelist, who is currently abroad, had said, "It is wrong to imply that a few miscreants who joined terror groups were influenced by me. So if I was really spreading terror, wouldn't I have made a few lakh terrorists by now? Not just a handful."
"In a fan following of millions, there may be a handful of anti-social elements who will go astray and take up violence. But they are surely not following what I've told them. The moment they pick up senseless violence, they cease to be Islamic and they surely lose my support," Naik told had PTI in an e-mail interview.
Asked about the legal steps he would take to challenge the ban on his NGO, he had said that his legal teams in Mumbai and Delhi were looking into the issue.
(With Agency inputs)