The Union Home Ministry is in the process of issuing a notice to televangelist Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, which monitors NGOs in India receiving foreign funds. Serving the notice would be the first action taken by the government since the foundation and its head Zakir Naik came under the scanner of intelligence and investigating agencies after suspected IS operatives claimed they were allegedly motivated by Naik's speeches to join the terror group to carry out attacks in the country.
Sources said a particular amount of Rs 1.5 crore was so far unaccounted for and unexplained under the foreign contribution regulations, which mandates NGOs to file annual returns of their foreign funding with the home ministry.
The standard questionnaire, being prepared by the MHA, would ask the IRF and Islamic Research Foundation Educational Trust to explain the flow of funds it had received, sources said. The serving of notice may be followed by a visit by the officials of the FCRA division of home ministry to Mumbai to inspect the accounts of the IRF, according to sources.
In India, Naik has two charities registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA)—Islamic Research Foundation and Islamic Research Foundation Educational Trust.
Sources in the MHA said a notice was served to the IRF in June 2014 as well but no follow up action was taken by the division concerned in the ministry, a matter which is now being looked into. The MHA officials said Naik's IRF had received Rs 14 crore in nine years.
While the IRF has completely denied as baseless any allegations of wrongdoing or misappropriation of funds saying the organisation works for the welfare of the people, the ministry is keen to ensure the foreign funding is not used for creating any disharmony. The officials said if it was satisfied with the reply of the organisation, it would not clamp down, but if the foreign funds received by the NGO were unaccounted for or being directed for any other purpose or to some other entity or being used to fuel unrest or create disharmony, further action could be taken.