Mumbai: In more trouble for controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, one of his close aides was arrested by the Maharashtra ATS and the Kerala Police in a joint operation for alleged terror links late on Thursday.
The development was confirmed by news agency ANI which said Arshid Qureshi, a youth associated with Zakir Naik ‘s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) was arrested from the Navi Mumbai area.
Maharashtra ATS & Kerala police in a joint operations arrest a youth associated with Zakir Naik’s organisation IRF in Navi Mumbai area
— ANI (@ANI_news) July 21, 2016
According to media reports, Qureshi has been arrested on charges of recruiting Kerala youths for global terror outfit Islamic State.
The arrest was made in connection with a case registered against Qureshi under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 34 IPC and 13 UAPA.
If Qureshi’s links with IRF is established, this could be the first arrest of a member of televangelist Naik’s organisation, which is under scanner since two of the Bangladesh cafe attackers said they were inspired by his preachings.
According to reports, Qureshi was held after the police raided a flat in Seawoods. He was produced before a magistrate’s court in CBD-Belapur on Thursday and remanded in transit custody for four days.
He will be questioned by the Maharashtra ATS and later taken to Kerala.
Ebin Jacob (25), the brother of Merin alias Mariam who is missing along with her husband Bestin Vincent alias Yahia from Kerala, had told police that there was an attempt to forcibly convert him to Islam and make him join IS.
Ebin had told Kochi police that Bestin and Qureshi were behind the attempted conversion.
Based on this statement, the Palarivattom police slapped charges under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on the duo and booked them under sections of the IPC.
The case against Qureshi and Bestin could be the first registered under UAPA against any of the 21 Keralites who have gone missing and allegedly joined the IS.