It is getting worse for controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik and his Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) with each passing day.
According to a report in Economic Times, Mumbai Police may file a case against Naik for ‘illegally’ converting around 800 people to Islam in lieu of money and also on terrorism charges.
It said that the case will be registered if police found that he gave money to the two men arrested last month for allegedly indoctrinating youngsters from Kerala and sending them to join the dreaded terror organisation Islamic State.
Police believe that Rizwan Khan and Arshid Qureshi, both staff of Naik’s IRF, converted people in lieu of monetary inducements.
Khan and Qureshi were arrested by police last month in connection with the conversion and disappearance of 21 Kerala youngsters. It is also believed that the two had links with the terror outfit Islamic State
Earlier, during the interrogation, Khan, who arranged marriages for ‘potential’ couple converters had admitted that he had already Proselytised about 400 people, including many Keralites.
Qureshi, who has been working as a guest relation executive with IRF, however, had denied his involvement in forcible conversion. Qureshi had alleged that he never converted anyone forcibly including Keralites.
Police have claimed to recover documents revealing that IRF had recruited youths to ISIS from India and one of the persons had contacted Abdul Rasheed, a Kasargod district youth who went missing and reportedly joined ISIS.
The latest development comes within a week of Mumbai Police submitting its report to the state Home department indicting Naik for alleged ‘pro-terror’ speeches and ‘influencing vulnerable minds’ to join terror organisations.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government is considering imposing ‘reasonable restrictions’ on Naik, meaning the next time he holds a public gathering in the state, he will have to seek a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the police. Also, most of his ‘objectionable’ speeches, mentioned in the report, will be removed from websites.
On the other hand, the money trail is also leading to other family members of Naik. One of his cousins, who handle the money that used to come to IRF, is likely to be quizzed in the next few days.
His wife Farhat Naik including his children and other relatives have come under the scanner of security agencies after it was found that a total of Rs 60 crore was deposited in his and family members bank accounts in last three years from three different countries.
Naik has come under the scanner of security agencies after it was reported that his speeches have inspired some terrorists who had taken siege of Holey Artisan cafe in Dhaka July 1.