Zakir Naik
Zakir NaikWikimedia Commons/maapu

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will reportedly move to revoke the Indian passport of Islamic preacher and president of Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), Zakir Abdul Karim Naik, who was accused in a criminal case filed in 2016. 

The NIA questioned Naik's sister and aide and then said that it was keeping a track on his web of financial transactions — at least 11 companies and 19 properties in Mumbai and Pune in which the Islamic preacher invested money to the tune of Rs 104 crore. The investigating agency also began proceedings to get a Red Corner Notice against Naik for which it already sent the required documents to the National Central Bureau (Interpol) NCB, India on May 11, 2017.

Sources told the Indian Express that Naik was issued a passport on May 23, 2011, which was renewed on January 20, 2016, in Mumbai. A new passport valid for 10 years was also issued in the Islamic preacher's name.

On November 18 last year, the NIA filed a criminal case against Naik on the orders of the Home Ministry under Sections 153A of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 10, 13 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Naik's organisation IRF has already been declared as an Unlawful Association by the government according to a notification dated November 17, 2016.

NIA sources told the paper that Naik obtained the status of a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) in September 2012 and that he left India on May 13, 2016 and has not come back ever since. The special court of the NIA also issued a non-bailable warrant against him on April 21 this year.

Investigators claimed that a man named Abu Anas, who is an accused in the "ISIS conspiracy case" filed by the NIA in 2015, received a scholarship from the IRF for three consecutive years from 2013 to 2015. The chargesheet in the ISIS case said that members of the ISIS-affiliated group Junood-ul-Khalifa-fil-Hind held several meetings across the country "to recruit Muslim youths to work for ISIS and to identify places for training and finally commit terrorist strikes at various public places and vital installations in India."

Investigation further revealed that Anas and his associates received orders from someone named Yusuf-Al-Hindi, who is based in Syria and is apparently the terrorist organisation's media chief. It was also found that "the total amount of scholarship provided to Abu Anas by IRF was about Rs 1.5 lakh."

When the NIA investigated into Naik's financial assets, it found that he had made huge investments in properties in Mumbai and Pune, including 11 companies incorporated by Naik with his family members and close aides appointed as directors of these companies, the Indian Express reported. The investigating agency also tracked financial transactions to the tune of crores of rupees through these companies and bank accounts of Naik's sister and father over the last few years.

Naik's sister and a few close aides have revealed financial details to the NIA in their statements. The investigating agency has been trying to locate Naik since 2016 having accused him of "encouraging and aiding his followers through his public speeches, lectures and talks, to promote on grounds of religion, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred and ill-will between different religious communities and groups."

NIA Director General Sharad Kumar told the Indian Express: "He (Naik) is not cooperating with us despite repeated notices sent to him asking him to join investigations."