Mumbai, Dec 21: In a bid to get to the bottom of the money trail, investigating officials have started questioning Dr Zakir Naik's family members. Investigations found that Naik, the controversial Islamic preacher, had used accounts of his family members to transfer money received by his NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF).
Officials from various agencies have been questioning his family members to understand the money trail. Investigators are looking into accounts and are also trying to find out for what purpose the money had been used.
During the course of investigation it was found that Naik had transferred money received by his NGO to the accounts held by his relatives. The probe also found that the money which came into the IRF was moved into accounts held by his relatives and later routed through some companies.
Naik's family probed
Investigators are also looking at the companies that were floated. It is alleged that money was laundered through these companies. A senior official informed OneIndia that prima facie it appears as though money was moved out of the IRF into the accounts of family members.
Further it was also found that nearly Rs 50 crore had been deposited into accounts held by Naik's relatives. The funds were routed into the accounts held by his wife and children. Naik had set up a video and television software production house called the Harmony Media in Mumbai. He is also alleged to have set up two real estate firms. These companies were set up between 2005 and 2008. It was found that Naik's wife was one of the promoters of the real estate firms.
Investigators also found that the real estate firms had not reported any income between 2009 and 2015. Further it was also found that the Harmony Media that was set up in 2005 saw a major growth in the past few years. Naik's wife was appointed on the board in 2006 but resigned in 2013.
What was done with the money?
The million dollar question is what exactly did Naik use the money for? There have been allegations that some part of the money was used for conversions. This was a case of the Kerala police which during investigations learnt that money for conversion had come from the donations that Naik had received.
The probe is still underway and the National Investigation Agency is looking into it, the Kerala police say.
Further doubts were raised when the NIA found that a scholarship was granted to a youth from Tonk in Rajasthan. The NIA said that Abu Anas received Rs 80,000 as scholarship in October 2015. Anas was arrested in January 2016 when he was trying to join the ISIS in Syria.
NIA officials say that they are joining the dots to see if the scholarship and the attempt made by Anas to join the ISIS was connected. After the Dhaka attack one of the terrorists had said that he was inspired by the speeches made by Naik. "We are finding out if this was the case regarding Anas too," the officer added.