Firms linked to IRF under NIA scanner

Looking for clues: NIA and police raiding the Islamic Research Foundation office in Mumbai.  

The National Investigation Agency will begin inquiries this week into the affairs of several private firms with which the now banned Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) has been found to have had dealings over the last few years.

The IRF was banned earlier this month by the Centre, which declared the organisation and its activities unlawful. The NIA subsequently registered an FIR against the IRF and its founder Dr. Zakir Naik under the Indian Penal Code as well as under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The NIA has since then been conducting investigations against the IRF, searching its properties and examining its financial history.

NIA sources said investigations so far had identified a few private companies in India which had close connections with the IRF. They include real estate and construction companies.

“Searches will be conducted at the offices of these firms so that we can find out more about their association with the IRF,” said an officer. “Searches at the IRF premises have turned up documents which indicate there was a significant flow of money between the IRF and these firms and our searches will focus on finding corresponding documents as well as other evidence.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Naik in a media statement released on Monday answered some of the charges levelled against him. On the NIA’s charge that the IRF paid a ‘scholarship’ to Abu Anas, who was later arrested for links to the Islamic State, Dr Naik said he could not confirm or refute it because all of IRF’s documents had been taken away after the ban. “I can say that it is highly improper — and childish —to allege that IRF’s scholarship money was used to fund terror. That’s not possible because the scholarship amount goes straight to the institution and not to the student.

“Sometimes a student may have paid the fees before the due date after taking loans or organising money from someone. In such cases, the IRF pays into the student’s account directly.”

He wondered how anyone could digest the claim that the IRF funded terror. It had received Rs. 64 crores in the past 25 years and the allegation was that it spent a mere Rs. 80,000 on funding terror.

He said there was a concerted effort to “implicate him by hook or crook.”

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 4:28:58 AM |

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