Central and state agencies were ready to arrest controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on his arrival in Mumbai in mid July, sources said on Friday, adding that he changed his travel plans after getting wind of the government's move.
Sources in the home ministry told CNN-News18 that Naik came to know about the arrest plan from media reports and gave them the slip.
"IB, Mumbai Police - all teams were ready. The media coverage damaged our case. He didn't come after reading media reports," said a MHA officer.
Zakir Naik was scheduled to return from Saudi Arabia in mid-July and also address a press conference in Mumbai. The press conference was cancelled at the last moment.
Home ministry is not just looking at action under UAPA but also planning to cancel the FCRA license of Naik's NGO Islamic Research Foundation.
A Joint Secretary level officer of MHA's Foreigners division may be suspended for renewing IRF's FCRA license.
"It is a serious lapse. Government can not ignore it. Steps will be taken to suspend the renewed license of IRF," MoS Home Koran Rijiju said.
Three MHA officers and one data entry operator have already been suspended in this case.