New Delhi: Incriminating files and documents, electronic storage devices and Rs 12 lakh cash were seized in simultaneous raids at 12 Mumbai properties connected to controversial preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF).
In a statement, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said the seized documents show "various activities, including the financial transactions of Zakir Naik and the IRF." It said an IT team was being flown from Delhi to Mumbai to assist the search teams.
The searches, which began early on Saturday morning, would continue till late in the night, the NIA said.
The agency has filed an FIR against Zakir Naik, who is currently not in the country, under Section 153A of the IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion...and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and various sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The anti-terror probe agency's action came barely four days after the Union government declared IRF a banned organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
After registering case against the 51-year-old Naik, IRF and others, NIA sleuths along with Mumbai police carried out searches at 10 places in the megapolis, including residential premises of some of the office bearers of the foundation, which was earlier put on restricted list by the Union Home Ministry for receiving funds from abroad.
Naik, who has been staying in Saudi Arabia to evade arrest after his name surfaced during probe into the Bangladesh terror strike earlier this year, has been booked along with unnamed IRF officials under section 153-A of IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) beside various sections of UAPA.
IRF came under the scanner of various security agencies after one of the terrorists involved in the Dhaka cafe attack had allegedly posted on social media that they had been inspired by Naik's speeches.
Some of the youths from Mumbai suburbs, who had left their home to join Islamic State earlier this year, were also allegedly inspired by the preacher.
(With PTI inputs)