NIA finds Zakir Naik’s organisation IRF offered ‘Scholarship’ To ISIS recruit

By Times Headline Writer

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) claims to have found the ISIS operative Abu Anas receiving Rs 80,000 as scholarship from Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), the organisation run by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.

According to the findings, the funds were transferred around the time Anas was planning to travel to Syria to join the IS. He had applied for the IRF scholarship on its website and he was called for an interview in Mumbai, according to the reports. Anas was arrested in Rajasthan in January.

Anas, 24, was in regular touch with IRF office bearers and the money was transferred to his ICICI Bank account in Tonk in Rajasthan, sources said. A former information security analyst with TWG International at Abids at Hyderabad, Anas was arrested by NIA as part of a multi-city IS module in January-February.

The IRF scholarship has come as an alleged link between the IRF and the ISIS, with sources suspecting that Naik’s aides could not have been unaware of Anas’s plans and extended him financial assistance by disguising it as a “scholarship”.

The IRF and Naik have been under the scanner of Indian agencies since the preacher’s name surfaced as a “motivator” in the Dhaka Gulshan terror attack case. Several Indian recruits of the IS have since acknowledged to have been inspired by Naik’ preachings to join the organisation and travel to West Asia to fight for the so-called caliphate.

Naik has denied that he is “terrorist influencer” and said his preachings reached 150 countries. In the ongoing crackdown on Naik and his NGOs, fresh raids on Tuesday saw agencies claiming recovery of video tapes and DVDs of Naik’s public speeches, documents related to property and investment, financial transactions and foreign and domestic funding of IRF and associated companies. (With inputs from news agencies)



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