The Mumbai police, who are gathering information about controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, have learnt that he and his organisation, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), own at least three properties in Dongri and Mazgaon.
They are: an office in Dongri, the Islamic International School in Mazgaon, and an office – Harmony Media Private Ltd – at Dongri’s Tandel Street, where shows meant to be aired on Peace TV are collated and edited.
Officials said that ascertaining the number of properties owned by Naik and the IRF is one of the police’s main goals. They are likely to submit a report to the state government next week, after which a decision will be taken on whether to initiate criminal proceedings against Naik.
Investigators are also collecting details of IRF’s employees and their roles. A video editor formerly with the company, who did not wished to be named, said, “There is a state-of-the-art studio on the third floor of the building, where post production activities take place. The videos are edited and sent to Dubai and London on DVDs to be aired. The office employs about 50 video editors.”
Peace TV, while banned in India, continues to be aired with the help of local cable operators. The channel operates in English, Urdu, Bangla and Chinese, and will soon have Arabic and French versions as well, a source told HT.
The studio and equipment at the Tandel Street property are estimated to be worth crores, and the police want to ascertain the source of its funding.
“But before we start to look for the source of the money, we want to find out how many of such properties exist. The special branch and other agencies are looking into this. We believe Peace TV also receives funding from overseas,” said a senior police officer, who did not wish to be named.
The police have not yet conducted searches at any of Naik’s and IRF’s properties.