Mumbai: The Mumbai police, probing the case of radicalisation involving Islamic Research Foundation’s (IRF) guest relation officer Arshi Qureshi said his questioning will be the key to ascertain the possible involvement of controversial preacher Zakir Naik in the case.
Naik and his non-profit IRF came under the scanner of three different investigating agencies in two separate cases within a span of a month after 21 youths from Kerala went missing and are feared to have joined the terror outfit ISIS.
Qureshi, being booked in both the cases of conversion and radicalisation, has made the allegations sensitive, officials said. The Mumbai crime branch is awaiting his custodial interrogation that would throw light on several aspects. Qureshi is currently in the Kerala police’s custody.
“Qureshi was working with the IRF for a considerable time and was also in direct touch with Naik. However, Naik’s role, if any, will be ascertained after we get Qureshi,” said a police officer.
Qureshi, along with Rizwan Khan, a maulavi, was arrested by the Kerala police and is currently in their custody in connection with a case of forceful conversion.
The arrests were carried out with help of the Maharashtra ATS, who were also alerted because of the involvement of two persons and a non-profit organisation from Mumbai in the case. The ATS is also conducting an independent probe against Naik and IRF apart from the Kerala police.
It was after a fresh case of alleged radicalisation was registered with the Nagpada police by a 60 -year-old Abdul Kader Khan that the Mumbai police began a full probe. Earlier, they conducted an enquiry into the IRF and Naik’s speech after the state government ordered it.
Khan alleged that his son Ashfaqueue left home and joined the ISIS after he was radicalised by Qureshi, Rizwan, Haneef and Abdul Rashid. Rashid allegedly joined the ISIS with Ashfaqueue and Haneef and is untraceable. While officials said that the Mumbai case is of radicalisation and not conversion, the investigators added that all the aspects being probed by the three agencies are interlinked with each other.
“It starts with the money flowing here in the form of donations and later it’s utilisation. In between the flow and usage comes the complaints of Kerala and Nagpada, of conversion and radicalisation. The probe is on to join the loose ends,” added the officer. The financial angle is being looked into by the Mumbai police’s economic offences wing .