Naik’s IRF among 150 red-flagged NGOs

Zakir Naik  

Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), with its licence up for renewal this year, was among the nearly 150 NGOs against whom adverse reports had been issued by the security agencies in July.

Naik came under the scanner that month for allegedly inspiring two of the Dhaka cafe attackers. Twenty-two people were killed in the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1.

A top government official told The Hindu that despite the IRF featuring on the list, its Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) licence was renewed on August 19 automatically through the online system. An FCRA licence is a mandatory requirement for an NGO to receive foreign funds; the licence is renewed every five years. An official explained that though the renewal system had been automated, the administrators were clearly told that in case of a pending inquiry and an adverse intelligence input, the licence should not be renewed. In July, the Home Ministry ordered an internal inquiry against officials of the FCRA wing, who had inspected Naik’s account in April 2014 and given him a clean chit. A senior functionary had recommended an inquiry by the CBI against the IRF after security agencies informed them that the NGO had not disclosed an amount of Rs. 2 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 1.8 crore in 2013-14.

An official said the first complaint against the IRF came in 2012. The Home Ministry did not take action on it for a year till the complainant sent a letter to the office of the then Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.

In 2013, the Home Ministry was asked by the PMO to look into the IRF’s foreign funding pattern. For a year, nothing happened. After several reminders from the then PMO, it was finally in April 2014 that a team of Home Ministry officials went to the IRF’s Mumbai office to inspect its accounts.

“In 2014, the officials came back and gave a report that all was fine with his accounts, whereas the intelligence agencies had red-flagged the organisation’s activities. Till that time, the online renewal system had not been introduced and an official wrote on file that no discrepancies had been found against the IRF. The file went for approval to the official’s superior, who asked for an explanation. The file never came back and later on, the superior was transferred out,” said a senior Home Ministry official, who has seen the file noting. “The two undersecretaries and a section officer who were suspended did not inform their seniors while renewing the licence,” the official said.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said, “The licence will be revoked in due course of time as it [the IRF] has been served an inspection notice by the Home Ministry on August 8. This is a grave negligence on the part of Home Ministry officials.”

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 1:42:16 AM |

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