A special investigating team of the crime branch will probe the finances of Raza Academy and Madinatul Ilm, the organisations that called for last week's protest at Azad Maidan, which turned violent.
A police source said these organisations have global connections, and even have branches abroad, which makes the probe into funding channels crucial. The source added that the Madinatul Ilm it is not a registered organisation, another reason to find out its source of funds.
The development comes a day after police recorded the statement of Raza Academy president Mohammed Saeed Noori. A senior officer from the crime branch said the police were focusing on three key questions: why did a scrap dealer from Kurla float a religious organisation? Why did an ostensibly reputed organisation like Raza Academy support it? Who funds these two organisations?
Investigators claimed to have some lead into these questions. "We have some details about Raza Academy, and why it supported Madinatul Ilm. We are in the process of verifying the details," the crime branch officer said.
Raza Academy has more than 20 branches in Maharashtra, and also has branches in states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and in the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. But investigators are more concerned by its branches at Colombo in Sri Lanka, Durban and Johannesburg in South Africa, and at Lahore in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, police have placed bank accounts of at least two persons under scrutiny. They are probing the links the two persons have with the organisers of the Azad Maidan rally. "The bank accounts were created allegedly to gather donations for those affected in the Assam riots. Pamphlets asking people to contribute were distributed a few days before the protest at Azad Maidan," said a senior crime branch officer, requesting anonymity. The pamphlets were widely circulated, police claim.