Zakir Naik’s NGO case: Centre lifts suspension of IAS officer

New Delhi: Senior IAS officer G K Dwivedi, who was suspended after the licence of an NGO of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik to receive foreign grant was renewed by a Home Ministry’s division headed by him, was today reinstated by the government, nearly 50 days after the action.

Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik
Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik

The competent authority has approved for placing the services of Dwivedi, a 1993 batch IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs on “compulsory wait” in the Department of Personnel and Training, from October 17, 2016, said an official order.

Dwivedi, along with three of his junior officers in Home Ministry, was suspended on September 1 for allegedly facilitating renewal of the license given under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) to Naik’s NGO — Islamic Research Foundation.

A departmental inquiry was also instituted by the Home Ministry into the issue.

Those suspended included two deputy secretaries and one section officer, official sources said.

Today’s action comes after representatives of IAS officers’ association and senior bureaucrats working in the Home Ministry had vouched for his “integrity and hard work” and asked the government to revoke his suspension.

The action against Dwivedi was taken after the Home Ministry found that Naik NGO’s licence was renewed by the Ministry’s Foreigners Division headed by him despite several ongoing probes, including one by it.

Upset over suspension, 15 Joint Secretaries in Home Ministry conveyed to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi that action against Dwivedi was “demoralising” and “harsh on an honest officer”.

Naik is under probe for allegedly radicalising youths and attracting them towards extremism, the sources said.

The central IAS officers’ association had last month also asked the Centre to revoke the suspension of Dwivedi, saying it has led to “demoralisation” in the rank and file of the officers working in the central secretariat.

“Dwivedi is known for his integrity and hard work. In his last two years of his tenure he has implemented about 17 important initiatives of the government,” the association had said.

There are 4,926 IAS officers working across the country.