Mumbai: With the Mumbai Police indicting Islamic preacher Zakir Naik after finding him to be allegedly involved in unlawful activities with possible terror links, Former IPS officer Y.P. Singh on Wednesday alleged this report by the men in uniform is extraneous to the provisions of law and deviates from the prescribed procedure of filing FIR in such matters.
Singh said if such conspicuous deviations are happening then obviously this is being governed by some invisible hand, which could be very much political in nature.
Pointing out that nothing of such legal procedures are complied with, the former IPS officer said these things clearly indicate that there are inherent contradictions in the entire matter, adding the police should not deviate from such legal procedures unless and until there is an invisible political hand.
“153A, 295A means that you are speaking something which is inimical to national integration, communal harmony. This is a criminal offence, but such offences are very difficult to prove in the court of law because in this country we have freedom of speech and expression,” said Singh.
“If somebody wants to extol his own religion, in that case it doesn’t mean that he has committed an offence. Almost all religious leaders of every religion come out with such exaggerated statements, but this doesn’t mean that they are committing a criminal offence,” he added.
Stating that India is governed by the rule of law, Singh said the constitutional principles prescribe that a person has full right for speech and expression.
“And if such freedom is there in that background if such offences are put forward they do not sustain in the court of law. Secondly, to prosecute such persons in the court, one requires a prior sanction either from the state government or from the Central Government. Such sanctions also do not easily come by and that is the reason why such offences which have been registered earlier they have not really succeeded in the court of law,” he added
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis yesterday said that the state government would press for extradition of Naik if he does not return on his own from abroad.
Fadnavis said that he has received the Mumbai Police’s report on Naik which severely indicts him.
The Chief Minister, who was addressing the media in Mumbai, added the state government is currently examining the report and would soon share it with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). He added that the state government would decide the further course of action in consultation with the MHA.
Amid reports last month that Naik’s preaching inspired some of those involved in Dhaka terror strike, the Maharashtra Government had asked the Mumbai Police to probe the former’s past speeches available online to see if any of them could have inspired the youth to join terrorist organisations.
The Mumbai Police also conducted a joint inquiry with other probe agencies into the functioning of Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) to scrutinize the finances it has received from various parts of the world.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has initiated an inquiry against an NGO run by Naik for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act.
A standard questionnaire has been sent to Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) after preliminary inquiry found the NGO run by Naik allegedly received about Rs. 15 crores during a five-year period preceding 2012.
Reports suggest that legal opinion tendered recently to the Home Ministry has favoured declaring the IRF an unlawful association under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The grounds for such a ban may include spreading hatred among religious communities and forced conversions by members.