Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik was involved in unlawful activities: Maharashtra to Indian government

Members of Shiv Sena political party protest against Naik at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on July 9, 2016. Photograph:( Getty )

PTI Mumbai, Maharashtra, India Aug 25, 2016, 04.27 AM (IST)

A Mumbai police report which indicts controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for provocative speeches and involvement in unlawful activities has been forwarded to the the central government, a top government official in western Indian state of Maharashtra said today. 

The televangelist's preachings are believed to have inspired some of the gunmen who attacked a Dhaka cafe in Bangladesh last month, leaving 22 people dead.

"The report submitted to the state government by Mumbai Police was in Marathi. We have translated the 71-page report into English and forwarded it to the union home ministry two days ago," additional chief secretary (Home) K P Bakshi told the press.

He added that the findings had also been sent to the state Law and Judiciary Department for its views on initiating action against the 50-year-old televangelist.

The Mumbai Police, who were asked to probe whether Naik's past speeches available online could have motivated youth to join terrorist outfits, submitted its report to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis earlier this month. 

Fadnavis, who also holds the home portfolio, had disclosed that the report indicted Naik for 'unlawful activities' and delivering 'provocative speeches.'

The city police was also conducting an inquiry along with other probe agencies into the functioning of Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), founded by Naik, and scrutinising its funds from various parts of the world.

Naik had a lengthy interaction with Indian media via Skype from Saudi Arabia on July 15 during which he rubbished the charge that his sermons had inspired terror activities.

Stating that he was a "messenger of peace", the physician-turned-preacher had accused the media of running a trial against him by highlighting "unverified" reports and "doctored" clippings.

(WION with inputs from PTI)