Zakir Naik
Zakir NaikWikimedia Commons

The NIA has now asked banks to freeze the accounts of Zakir Naik's NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). According to PTI, the NIA has also written to the Home Ministry in this regard. It has the Home Ministry to blocking websites and other online activities of Zakir Naik and IRF.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) found that Islamic preacher Zakir Naik's NGO Islamic Research Foundation gave a sum of Rs 80,000 as scholarship to Islamic State (ISIS) operative Abu Anas. 

This could be the first evidence of a connection between Naik and his NGO with ISIS Indian recruits. The funds from IRF was transferred to Anas, aged 24, during the time he was planning to travel to Syria to join the Islamist militant organisation, according to Times of India.

Reports state that that Naik's aides may have been aware of Anas' plans to join ISIS and provided him financial assistance in the guise of a "scholarship". Anas was reportedly in constant touch with IRF officials and the money was transferred to his ICICI Bank account in Tonk, Rajasthan. The Indian ISIS operative was later caught by authorities in Rajasthan in January.

The link between IRF and its funding of ISIS recruits will strengthen the government's case against Naik and his controversial NGO. The government has launched an investigation against Naik under anti-terror laws and has banned IRF.

Naik and his NGO came under Indian government scanner soon after the deadly attack at a bakery in the posh Gulshan Thana in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Reports state that the Islamic preacher had 'motivated' the assailants to carry out the attack on the bakery which killed 29 people including an Indian.

Reports also state that many ISIS Indian recruits have said that they were inspired by Naik's preachings to join the terror organisation which has taken over swathes of Syria and Iraq and wants to establish an Islamic caliphate. Naik, however, has denied influencing terrorists and has said that his preachings reach almost 150 countries in the world.

The NIA had conducted raids across 10 premises of IRF in Mumbai on Saturday after a case was registered against him and others under Section 10, 13, 18 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Section 153A of IPC for allegedly 'spreading enmity' between religions a day before.

A notice was issued by the Mumbai Police to the IRF which stated that it had been banned under provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The IRF was quoted as saying that they were looking at taking legal steps to challenge the ban.