Mumbai: A total of Rs 60 crore was deposited in controversial televangelist Zakir Naik ‘s bank account in the last three years from three different countries, a Mumbai police probe has found. The money was transferred to five accounts belonging to Naik’s family members, a police officer who did not wish to be named said.
Police sources said they had probed the money angle and found details of all transactions. “We still don’t know what this money was meant for. We have done an inquiry and found the money trail. The money was transferred to family members’ accounts,” said the officer.
The account, the officer made clear, does not belong to Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) but is his own. Police are looking into the financial transactions of Naik and the IRF. However, they are yet to question IRF officials. “We may question them about the source of income, the connection between the depositors and Naik,” said the officer.
A decision on whether to initiate action against Naik’s two NGOs under the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act 2010 is yet to be taken. The Union home ministry is examining possible FCRA violations by IRF and IRF Educational Trust, both registered as “educational” NGOs under FCRA but reportedly receiving and utilising foreign funds for “religious and religion-linked” activities. A source close to Naik however said, “There is no illegal transaction.
The money came into the bank account, and all the records of IRF have been cleared till 2015 by the Income-Tax department. Whatever money came is in white and all the records are maintained. This also helps the country’s foreign exchange to grow.”
Mumbai police are also probing the accounts of an international school run by Naik. A police inquiry report, submitted to commissioner D D Padsalgikar recently, was compiled after going through the bank statements and money transfers, sources said.