The economic offences wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police has now started a preliminary inquiry (PE) into the foreign funding of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF).
The foundation’s funding is also being checked under the The Foreign Contribution (regulation) Act (FCRA) by the Union home ministry.
Sources in the Mumbai Police said the special branch, which initially conducted an inquiry into Zakir Naik’s IRF, probed various angles of the organisation, but did not probe the funding aspect.
A preliminary inquiry is conducted into allegations to determine if an offence can be made out or not and a first information report (FIR) is filed only if it is found in the PE that the case can stand in the court of law and falls under the ambit of legal provisions.
In his press conference held in July through video conferencing, Naik referred to the finances of IRF and his television channel Peace TV and said, “In case there have been violations of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, let the agencies tell me. In the past too, a team of officers from Delhi came calling and probed the funding and other aspects of IRF, but found nothing.”
While the current FIR under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and under section 120 (B) of the Indian Penal code, which is being probed by the special investigating team (SIT) of the crime branch would probe the radicalisation and joining of the suspect in Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) from Mumbai. It is unlikely to probe much into IRF’s funds because it would widen the probe’s scope.
Sources said the EOW would look into various aspects and would after seeking legal opinion take further call on the future course of action.
IRF in a statement on Tuesday has said, “IRF is not privy to the police commissioner’s report, but from reports put across in the media, IRF wants to reiterate that the allegations are false and baseless. Dr Zakir Naik firmly believes in promoting peace and harmony and has been doing that for decades. Dr Zakir Naik or IRF has not received any notice from the MHA or any governmental agency as of now, and hence we’re unable to comment on it.”