A comprehensive dossier submitted by the Mumbai Police Commissioner to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis about the speeches of Salafist preacher Zakir Naik, minces no words against him. It says in clear words that the religious preacher promotes terror and his speeches disturb communal harmony and peace, spread enmity between religions, and he can be prosecuted for that. It also says that legal opinion is being sought for the application of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Zakir Naik has said that the Act is not applicable to him. “UAPA is not applicable to us. And if an FIR is filed under it, we will approach the Bombay High Court for the misuse of the draconian Act. We will seek its quashing,” advocate Mubin Solkar, representing Dr Zakir Naik, told The Sunday Guardian.
In the dossier submitted to the CM, the CP has attached all the old FIRs against Naik, including those filed against him for insulting Hindu Gods. They have also attached the case filed against two persons associated with the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) who have been booked by the Kerala Police. The annexure consists of transcripts of objectionable statements made by Naik, the appendix relied on by the UK Home Secretary for banning him in the past, and the interrogation reports.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Economic Offences Wing is scrutinising the foreign funds received by Naik and his family members. They are looking at the possible shell companies floated by Naik and family, including a real estate firm. The plots owned by Naik are also being scrutinised. According to reports, funds to the tune of Rs 60 crore were transferred from foreign countries to Naik’s accounts.
Two persons associated with IRF have already been booked for paying some youth for conversion. Arshi Qureshi and Rizwan Khan have been booked by the Kerala Police and the Maharashtra Police for luring youth into converting to Islam and sending them to join ISIS.
Meanwhile, reacting to the statement made by Fadnavis about the possible extradition of Naik, his lawyer put it off as a far-fetched plan. It has been clarified that Naik has no plans to return to the country any time soon. “We haven’t officially heard from any agencies. So far, no case has been registered against him. Investigation can be done only after a formal FIR is registered. As far as extradition is concerned, the process can be initiated only when all other legal remedies are exhausted. There is no point in putting the cart before the horse. They will first have to send summons to us, follow the procedure prescribed in law. There is no question of his return to India any time soon. According to his plan, he is busy with other things till the end of this year at least,” Solkar said.
At present, the Mumbai Police is in the process of taking legal opinion on whether UAPA can be slapped on Naik. They are specifically looking at whether a case can be registered under Sections 13(1)(B) and 39(1)(B)(III) of UAPA. The Centre is already investigating the NGO and organisation run by Naik for any violations of FCRA. IRF has said that one of the suspected accused arrested by the Kerala Police, Arshi Qureshi, is no longer employed by the organisation. He worked as their guest relations manager till now. “Now that he has been arrested, there is no question of him being employed with the IRF,” Solkar said. The IRF has issued a statement about the Police Commissioner’s report and the MHA notice. “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. 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.”