Renewal of Zakir Naik’s NGO’s licence: Babus in Modi govt upset over action against IAS officer


Upset over suspension of an IAS officer, four senior officers in Home Ministry have conveyed to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi that action against Joint Secretary G K Dwivedi for the alleged lapses by his juniors in FCRA licence renewal of Zakir Naik’s NGO was “demoralising” and “harsh on an honest officer”.

Photo courtesy: mid day
Photo courtesy: mid day

Coming out in support of Dwivedi, who was serving as Joint Secretary (Foreigners) in the Home Ministry, the four senior officers — all Joint Secretary — told Mehrishi on Saturday that his suspension was a “gross miscarriage of justice” towards an officer who has been diligently doing his job and has successfully implemented several ambitious projects of the government.

“It is demoralising for honest officers. I feel injustice has been done to Mr Dwivedi. We have conveyed our feelings,” Joint Secretary (Police-I) in the Home Ministry Kumar Alok, who was one of the four officers, told PTI when asked whether he had met the Union Home Secretary, pleading Dwivedi’s case.

Kumar, himself an IAS officer, however, refused to elaborate further about their discussions with the Union Home Secretary.

Dwivedi, along with three of his junior officers, were suspended three days ago after government found that the FCRA licence of an NGO run by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik was renewed by the Home Ministry’s Foreigners Division headed by him (Dwivedi) despite several probes being undergoing against Naik for allegedly radicalisating youths and attracting them towards extremism.

Sources said the four Joint Secretaries told the Union Home Secretary that the integrity of Dwivedi was beyond any question and such action against a senior officer for the alleged lapses of his juniors would send a wrong signal.

Dwivedi has been credited with successfully implementing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s several key projects including TVoA (tourist visa on arrival), enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), popularly known as e-tourist visa scheme that led to 293 per cent jump in foreign tourist arrivals in India.

The scheme was launched on November 27, 2014 and is currently offered to citizens of 150 countries.

Dwivedi also led the successful merger of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card scheme with Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card scheme, as announced by the Prime Minister.

He oversaw Modi government’s another pet project of offering long term visa and citizenship to Hindu, Sikh and other minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who have taken refuge in India after facing religious persecution in their home counties.

Dwivedi was also instrumental in completely overhauling the registration process of NGOs under the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act and making it completely online and transparent.