A departmental inquiry has been instituted by the home ministry into the issue of renewal of the FCRA licence of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s NGO, which led to suspension of four officials.
Secretary (Border Management) Susheel Kumar is conducting the probe to find out the details about how the FCRA licence of Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) was renewed despite several ongoing probes, including one by the home ministry, official sources said.
Four officials, including joint secretary (Foreigners Division) GK Dwivedi, were suspended for alleged dereliction of duties.
Sources said if the inquiry of Kumar comes in favour of Dwivedi, the government may take a lenient view to revoke the suspension but such a decision will come only after the completion of the inquiry.
Upset over suspension of the IAS officer, four joint secretaries of the home ministry have conveyed to Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi that action against Dwivedi for the alleged lapses by his juniors in FCRA licence renewal of Naik’s NGO was “demoralising” and “harsh on an honest officer”.
Sources said Dwivedi, infact, was taking action by putting the IRF into prior permission category under the FCRA, thus restricted the flow of foreign funding into his NGO.
There is a possibility of IRF being put under prior permission category so that any funds coming from abroad has to be given to the NGO only after getting nod from the home ministry.
The probes being undergoing against Naik for allegedly radicalisation youths and attracting them towards extremism.
Senior officers in the home ministry conveyed that the integrity of Dwivedi was beyond any question and such action against a senior officer for the alleged lapses of his juniors would send a wrong signal.
Dwivedi has been credited with successfully implementing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s several key projects including TVoA (tourist visa on arrival), enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), popularly known as e-tourist visa scheme that led to 293% jump in foreign tourist arrivals in India.
The scheme was launched on November 27, 2014 and is currently offered to citizens of 150 countries.
Dwivedi also led the successful merger of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card scheme with Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card scheme, as announced by the Prime Minister.
He oversaw Modi government’s another pet project of offering long term visa and citizenship to Hindu, Sikh and other minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who have taken refuge in India after facing religious persecution in their home countries.
Dwivedi was also instrumental in completely overhauling the registration process of NGOs under the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act and making it completely online and transparent.