3 home ministry officials sacked for renewing Zakir Naik NGO licence

Three junior officials of the Union home ministry were removed on Thursday after it was found that the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act license of a non-profit headed by Salafi preacher Zakir Naik - who is currently being probed for allegedly motivating acts of terror - had been renewed in an oversight.

Reports said that the license of Islamic Research Foundation was renewed on 19 August even as the government initiated an inquiry against Naik and his organisation. Both are under the scanner of the Maharashtra government and the union home ministry.

An FCRA license allows a NGO receive foreign donations.

 "Although there is no case against Naik, the FCRA license was renewed when the probe was on, therefore the officers were removed," a senior official told NDTV. The officials had verified the paperwork and the license was renewed in a routine manner, the officer said.

The home ministry, he added, can revoke the license in case irregularities are established in the probe.

After the Holey Artisan Cafe in Dhaka was stormed by gunmen in July, Bangladesh had complained to India about Zakir Naik and the IRF. It had alleged that the IRF and Naik's speeches may have motivated the youth.

Besides auditing the books of the IRF, the home ministry is also going through Naik's speeches to establish whether the funds his organisation received have been misused and whether he can be booked for motivating terrorists.