Four MHA officials suspended for ‘irregularities’ in renewal of Zakir’s NGO licence

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FOUR OFFICIALS of the Union Home Ministry were suspended Thursday for alleged irregularities in renewing the registration of controversial tele-evangelist Zakir Naik’s NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) last month despite an ongoing probe against him.

Sources said IRF’s FCRA registration was renewed on August 19 by the suspended officials, whose names were not immediately known. An organisation has to renew its FCRA registration every five years. The renewal of IRF’s registration was cleared at a time when the Home Ministry had sought legal opinion to ascertain whether Naik is liable to be gagged and IRF declared an unlawful organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

The Foreigners Division of the Home Ministry was also scrutinising whether IRF had violated any foreign funding norms under FCRA. A Home Ministry official confirmed that the suspension of four MHA officials was in connection with the renewal of IRF’s FCRA registration, but did not divulge what the irregularities in clearing the renewal of registration were.

A spokesperson for the IRF in Mumbai said, “Last week, we got further query from the department which we have reverted to. We find the suspension of the officials for alleged irregularities in renewal (of registration) political and motivated.”

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