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NIA asks banks to freeze accounts of Naik, IRF

Wednesday, Nov 23, 2016,17:26 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Seeking to starve controversial preacher Zakir Naik and his organisation of funds, the NIA on Wednesday asked banks to freeze accounts belonging to him and his Islamic Research Foundation, which has been banned under the anti-terror law.

Official sources said all the banks, where Naik’s and his organisation’s accounts were in operation, have been asked to immediately freeze those till further directions.

NIA had registered a case against Naik, IRF and unnamed office bearers of the foundation under section 153-A of IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), besides various sections of anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Following this searches were conducted for three days at 20 premises during which details of bank accounts and other financial activities related to Naik and IRF were seized.

The sources said the move to block his bank accounts was taken after the NIA claimed to have seized documents which showed ISIS recruit Abu Anas had received Rs 80,000 from the IRF as scholarship in October 2015.

Anas, an engineer and a resident of Tonk in Rajasthan, had quit job in a Hyderabad-based company when he was arrested by the NIA in January for allegedly planning to carry out a terror strike ahead of Republic Day.

The NIA claimed the probe into the IRF’s funding and distribution of money showed that Anas, who was among 16 people arrested for ISIS links at that time, had received Rs 80,000 from IRF as scholarship.

NIA has also written to Union Home Ministry for banning the webiste run by the IRF and as well as suspending its online activities which inlcudes videos of speeches on social networking sites, the sources said.

The Home Ministry will pass on the request to Information Technology ministry for blocking the Universal Resource Locator (URL) of the website.

The NIA has been conducting searches since November 19 and raided at least 20 premises in Mumbai which are connected to the proscribed IRF or its trustees.

During the search operations, video tapes and DVDs of Naik’s public speeches, documents related to property and investment, financial transactions, foreign and domestic funding to IRF as well as its associated companies, and electronic storage devices have been recovered.

The NIA alleged that IRF, which was banned by the government last week under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), had close connections with some companies dealing in media, perfumes and some other sectors.

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