Zakir Naik’s NGO a law-abiding trust, says lawyer

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Sept. 2: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik's lawyer Mubin Solkar on Friday said that the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license of Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) was renewed after conducting a detailed audit of its accounts, adding the NGO is a law-abiding trust and obeys all rules and regulations imposed on them.

Silencing critics, Solkar told ANI the objective of IRF is to promote communal harmony and peace. "Firstly, we have all along being stating that the accounts of IRS have always been audited as per the rules and the procedure and all the accounts were even inspected by the FCRA authorities some time back.

And after having conducted a detailed audit of the accounts they found that there were no violations," Solkar said.

"So, therefore, as of today we have not committed any violation of the FCRA and IRF is a law abiding trust and is complied with all the rules and regulations that are imposed on the FCRA.

So, therefore, the renewal of FCRA has rightly been done by the concerned officials," he added. Stating if the IRF is declared an unlawful organistaion then this will be nothing but abuse of the provision of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Solkar said: "So far as banning of IRF fund under UAP or declaring it as unlawful organization is concerned, we don't think that it can be done because in order to ban an organization or to declare it as an unlawful organsiation the object of that organisation must be to create communal hatred." Meanwhile, four officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs have been suspended for alleged irregularities in renewing the registration of IRF under the FCRA last month despite an ongoing probe against him.

The suspended officials include two under secretaries, one section officer and one data entry operator.

According to sources, the licence for Naik's NGO was renewed on August 19 even as the government initiated the inquiry against him and his organisation.

The MHA had reportedly last month sent a questionnaire to the IRF seeking foreign fund details. An FCRA license allows an NGO to receive foreign donations. After gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Cafe in Dhaka in July, Bangladesh had complained to India about Zakir Naik and the IRF.

Dhaka had alleged the IRF and Naik's speeches may have motivated the youth. As per reports, the Foreigners Division of the Home Ministry was also scrutinising whether IRF had violated any foreign funding norms under FCRA.

Source: ANI