The passport of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, wanted in connection with alleged terror funding cases, was revoked on Tuesday at the request of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), officials said.
"The Mumbai Regional Passport Office has approved the NIA's request to revoke Zakir Naik's passport," a spokesperson for the anti-terror agency said on Tuesday. The 51-year-old televangelist, who is currently abroad, is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for charges related to terror and money laundering.
The Mumbai-based preacher, who left India on July 1,2016, came under the lens of security agencies after someterrorists allegedly involved in the attack on a cafe in Dhakain July 2016 reportedly claimed they were inspired by his speeches.
Naik had his passport renewed in January 2016 and it was valid for 10 years. The NIA had on November 18, 2016, registered a case against Naik at its Mumbai branch under various sections ofthe Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
His city-based NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), has already been declared an unlawful association by the Centre. The controversial preacher has been accused of spreading hatred by his provocative speeches, funding terrorists and laundering several crores of rupees over the years.
Naik, a medical doctor-turned preacher, during his interactions with the Indian media from his haven abroad has repeatedly denied all charges. He was served a show-cause notice by the passportauthorities asking as to why his travel document should not be revoked.
The Interpol was approached against Naik after a year-long probe during which the NIA gathered evidence of his IRF and Peace TV being used to allegedly promote hatred between different religious groups. Besides banning his NGO, the central government has taken his TV channel off air.
With PTI inputs