This is not the first time city-based Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik is under the scanner for his connection with terrorist acts. Banned in several countries for his controversial speeches, Naik was called by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in 2006 for questioning, after the 11/7 train blasts.
“While investigating the case, we had come across a suspect who had been working in his office in Dongri. Naik and the suspect were questioned in that connection but they were allowed to go for lack of any solid proof against them,” said former ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi, who probed the 11/7 blasts.
Naik, currently in Saudi Arabia, was called to the ATS’ Byculla office a few weeks after the blast, added Raghuvanshi, who retired from the police force last year. On July 11, 2006, as many as seven blasts had taken place in several trains, leaving 209 dead and over 700 injured.
After the blasts, Mumbai Police had banned Naik from conducting any speech in public after the contents of his previous speeches were found to be inflammatory. He is also banned from organising any conclave in the UK and Canada after a video emerged where he refused to acknowledge Osama bin Laden as a terrorist. Malaysia banned him, along with other 16 Islamic scholars, for his speeches. He cannot even hold any event in Mumbra, where he stayed for the last six decades.
And now, he is under the scanner of the National Investigation Agency for his seditious speeches that allegedly inspired the gunmen of Dhaka’s diplomatic enclave into killing 22 people. Rohan Imtiaz, one of the Dhaka restaurant attackers, shared videos featuring Naik on his FB page. Naik, who will return from Saudi on July 11, is expected to hold a press conference upon his return.
CM asks top cop to probe Naik’s speeches
CM Devendra Fadnavis has asked the Mumbai Police chief to conduct a probe into Zakir Naik’s speeches amid reports that his sermons inspired one of the terrorists involved in the attack on a restaurant in Dhaka. “I have asked the Mumbai Police commissioner to conduct a probe (into Naik’s speeches) and submit a report,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis yesterday. Everything, including Naik’s speeches, his social media accounts, sources of funding (of a foundation run by him in Mumbai) will be scrutinised, said Fadnavis.