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Home / Politics / Policy /  Allegations against Zakir Naik baseless, ban illegal: Islamic Research Foundation

New Delhi: Controversial preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) has said the first information report (FIR) filed against Naik and the organization was illegal and rejected allegations against them as baseless.

On Friday evening, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case against Naik under Sections 10, 13 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, or IPC.

“The FIR is illegal because another FIR had been registered in 2012 for the same crime, regarding inflammatory speeches and offending different religious groups. It had been investigated and the matter had been closed. Dr. Naik has also stated that this is being re-engineered to suit the decision of the NIA. Also, it holds little meaning because the FIR was registered after the ban on IRF," said an IRF member who asked not to be identified.

“On Saturday, nine teams of the NIA conducted search operations at 12 premises connected to the IRF. We seized incriminating evidence by way of documents, files, storage devices and about Rs12 lakh in cash," an official with the NIA said on condition of anonymity.

NIA recovered documents related to various activities including financial transactions and property details of Naik and the IRF, the official said.

A team from Delhi’s NIA headquarters assisted the Mumbai branch in the search operations.

Even as several websites related to Naik and the IRF were blocked over Saturday and Sunday, taking the ban further, the NIA is also likely to approach YouTube and Facebook to block Naik’s videos which have allegedly been responsible for spreading hate and inciting terror.

A home ministry notification last week banned Naik’s IRF in connection with the 1 July Dhaka terrorist attacks.

The IRF has rejected the allegation that it had anything to do with the attacks and said Naik was willing to cooperate with the probe.

“The Dhaka terror attack allegation is baseless. The NIA has not found anything in their search operations at our premises. There is no incriminating evidence of any kind. Dr. Naik has stated he is more than willing to cooperate unconditionally in the probe," said the IRF official.

While NIA stated that “it is too early to tell if Naik or the IRF would cooperate with the ongoing investigation or not," given the fact that Naik is not in India, the IRF stated that the Islamic preacher had not even been summoned in the matter.

“At the moment, Naik is not in India and we can only say something conclusive once he is back in the country. The case of issuing notices to Naik and the IRF will only be taken at a much later stage," the NIA official added.

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