New Delhi: Probing controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s terror connections, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has questioned his sister Nailah Naushad Noorani, his brother-in-law Naushad Noorani and his friend and associate of 21 years in Islamic Research Foundation, Manzoor Shaikh, apart from several other relatives and colleagues.
Sources said among others who were questioned by the NIA in the last few days were Naik’s personal assistant Aslam, his office accountant Ismail Patni and his friend and colleague Amit Gazdar.
Sources told TOI that Nailah, who is said to be director and additional director in five private companies linked to Naik Harmony Media Pvt Ltd, Longlast Constructions Pvt Ltd, Right Property Solutions Pvt Ltd, Majestic Perfumes and Alpha Lubricants Pvt Ltd was asked about the funding of the firms.
The agency, after registering a case last month, had recovered hundreds of documents which suggested that these companies had close links with IRF. “We are looking at regular inflow and outflow of foreign and domestic funds in IRF and other organisations associated with it,” an officer said.
Manzoor Shaikh, sources said, was questioned about Naik’s connections in India, funding pattern of IRF and also about his controversial speeches. TOI tried to contact Naik’s family members and aides but they couldn’t be reached. With Naik in Saudi Arabia, the anti-terror agency is trying to unravel his activities behind the garb of Peace TV and IRF Foundation. In one instance, it was found that Abu Anas, an Islamic State operative from Tonk in Rajasthan, was given Rs 1.5 lakh by IRF Foundation.
Officials said there could be more such instances where terrorists were given funds by IRF or organisations associated with it. Peace TV and websites connected to Naik have been blocked, his bank accounts freezed and all property related to his organisations have been sealed.
The Islamic preacher, who often spoke in favour of the activities of al Qaida and other terror outfits and incited youngsters to take the path of jihad, came under the scanner after one of the terrorists who killed 22 people in a Dhaka cafe on July 1 posted on social media that he had been inspired by Naik’s speeches.
Several Indian Mujahideen and IS recruits from India have claimed that they were inspired by the fiery speeches of the Salafist preacher.