webNEW DELHI: Televangelist and renowned Islamic scholar, Dr Zakir Naik, slammed PM Modi recently for slapping his NGO with a five-year ban and claimed that the government would fail in its plans.

In an email interview with a news agency, Dr Naik claimed that the NIA and other investigative bodies scrutinizing IRF but could not come up with any substantial proof of his involvement in terrorism, had no other choice but to give in to political pressure of the government.

“More unfortunately, it is also indicative of the grim state of affairs existing in my beloved homeland since the Modi government took over two-and-a-half years ago,” he said.

Zakir Naik claimed that he had a fan following of millions of people around the globe. A few of them turn anti-social and end up losing his support. He claimed that never preached violence and that those who go down that path are not following his preaching.

“In a fan following of millions, there may be a handful of anti-social elements who will go astray and take up violence. But they are surely not following what I’ve told them. The moment they pick up senseless violence, they cease to be Islamic and they surely lose my support,” he said.

He claimed that the government’s timing of the IRF ban was directed at diverting the attention of the media and masses away from the demonetisation issue.

“From the government’s point of view, the timing itself could not have been better. The decision to ban IRF was taken in the middle of the demonetisation fiasco, as the country reeled under the self-imposed cash crunch. I won’t be surprised if this ban was meant to distract media from what was going on in the country. For the public that is starved for cash, for trade and basic amenities, one cannot expect much of resistance,” he said.

Naik also dismissed rumours that his NGO was involved in money laundering, claiming that all relevant information with regard to his donors had been given to the Ministry of Home Affairs over the last fifteen years. He claimed that he would move the court against the ban and that he had full belief in the country’s judicial system.

“IRF received about Rs 14 crore in the FCRA account over the past 15 years. Of this, about Rs 4 crore was from NRIs living abroad. Only about Rs 10 crore was received from foreign donors in the last about 15 years. All of this was duly declared to the MHA, including the amounts, the names and the addresses of the donors. So, where is the question of money laundering?” he asked.

Dr Zakir Naik is in hot water after some terrorists in Dhaka, who carried out an attack, named him as their inspiration. The Indian government slapped the Islamic Research Foundation, Naik’s NGO, with a five-year-ban and declared it as a terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Dr Zakir Naik is not in India currently but suspected to be in Malaysia. He has so far not answered any queries related to whether he will return back to India or not.