The Centre on Thursday night suspended four Union Home Ministry officials, including a joint secretary, for allegedly facilitating the renewal of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act licence of a non-governmental organisation promoted by Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, against whom several probes are going on.
Those suspended are Joint Secretary G K Dwivedi, an Indian Administrative Services officer, two deputy secretaries and one section officer, official sources said.
The action was taken after the home ministry found that Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation’s FCRA licence was renewed recently despite several ongoing probes, including one by it.
‘The action against two Under Secretaries and one Section Officer was due to their negligence in clearing the renewal while a case is still pending,’ Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju tweeted.
In another tweet, Rijiju said the home ministry was very clear that there should be smooth process of registration or renewal of FCRA licence but not when there is a case pending.
‘We had made the process of FCRA renewal online,’ he tweeted.
Mumbai Police is also probing allegations against Naik.
Naik is accused of radicalisation of youths into terror and receiving foreign funds and spending such funds in luring youths into radical views.
He came under the scanner of the security agencies after Bangladeshi newspaper Daily Star reported that one of the attackers of the July 1 terror strike in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran a propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik.
Naik in a lecture, aired on Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, had reportedly ‘urged all Muslims to be terrorists’.
The popular but controversial Islamic orator is banned in the United Kingdom and Canada for his hate speech aimed against other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia.
He is popular in Bangladesh through his Peace TV, although his preaching often demeans other religions and even other Muslim sects.