NEW DELHI: The National Investigating Agency (NIA) on Thursday said that controversial preacher Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) has investments of as much as Rs 100 crore in real estate business. The agency also said that Naik's 78 bank accounts are under the scanner.

On November 19 last year, the agency conducted raids at 10 premises of IRF in Mumbai after registering a case against Naik under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and section 153A of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The NIA action had come after the Union Cabinet declared IRF a banned organisation under UAPA.

IRF had come under the scanner of various security agencies after one of the terrorists involved in the Dhaka cafe attack on July 1, 2016 allegedly posted on social media that they had been inspired by Naik's speeches.

In addition, some young men from Mumbai's suburbs, who had left their home to join the Islamic State in 2016, also allegedly said they were inspired by the preacher.

The home ministry found the NGO allegedly had dubious links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, which has been accused of propagating terrorism.

On January 13 this year, IRF challenged the validity of its ban. The government defended its action by saying IRF was luring youth to join ISIS.

"Youth were being radicalised. Many were in the queue for joining ISIS. Many youths arrested in unrelated terror cases stated that they were inspired by speeches of Zakir Naik. What could have been a more urgent situation for a nation? Should we have waited for pralay (catastrophe)," Centre told Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva of the Delhi High Court during the proceeding.

Naik is currently out of the country apparently to evade arrest. His speeches are banned in the UK, Canada and Muslim-majority Malaysia.

Courtesy TOI