Illegal conversion racket: Gujarat cops arrest 2 in UP

Illegal conversion racket: Gujarat police reach Uttar Pradesh to arrest 2 accused

A five-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) was also formed by the Vadodara police to conduct further investigation into the matter

Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

A team of Vadodara police from Gujarat has reached Uttar Pradesh to arrest two persons allegedly involved in diverting funds of a charitable trust for illegal religious conversions and to provide legal help to anti-CAA protestors and those arrested in Delhi communal riots, officials said on Thursday.

Both the accused - Mohammad Umar Gautam and Salauddin Shaikh - are currently lodged in a Lucknow jail and the Vadodara police team has reached there with a production warrant issued by a local court, said a release from the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Vadodara police.

Delhi resident Umar Gautam was held by the UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) in June on charges of fraudulently converting people to Islam. Shaikh was arrested by the UP ATS from Panigate area in Vadodara last month, after it was revealed that he had allegedly provided funds to Gautam and others to carry out illegal conversions.

A parallel probe by Vadodara police had revealed that Shaikh, as the managing trustee of Afmi Charitable Trust in the Gujarat city, allegedly collected Rs 24.48 crore from different sources, including Dubai, to carry out activities which were in contravention to the purposes for which the trust was formed, the SOG said in the release.

While the UP ATS was conducting a probe into the main case, the Vadodara police were also conducting an investigation from their side and registered an FIR on August 24 against Shaikh, Gautam and others.

A five-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) was also formed by the Vadodara police to conduct further investigation into the matter.

The Vadodara SOG on Tuesday registered the FIR against Shaikh, Gautam and others under Indian Penal Code Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities), 465 (forgery) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy), the release said.

It was revealed during the probe that Shaikh gave Rs 6 crore to Umar Gautam and others to carry out religious conversions and Rs 60 lakh as legal help to anti-CAA protestors and those arrested post the 2020 Delhi communal riots.

Shaikh even diverted Rs 7.27 crore to his connections in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Assam to build over 100 mosques in those states, said the release, adding that police teams were also sent to those states to unearth the entire network.

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