The Anti Terrorist Squad of the Uttar Pradesh police on Sunday said it has arrested one more accused in connection with the illegal religious conversion case, taking the number of arrests in the matter to 16.
The latest arrest is that of a Delhi-based man, who was held from Noida on Saturday, after it was found that he was in contact with others involved in the conversion syndicate, the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) said.
“Accused Abdullah Umar Gautam, who lived in Jamia Nagar area of Delhi, was constantly in touch with the people who have been arrested in the past in connection with the conversion case. He would distribute the funds received from foreign countries among the converted people,” the ATS said in a statement.
“He was connected to other accused, including Jahangir Alam, Kausar Alam, Faraz Shah, and looked after the work of Al-Farukhi Madrasa and Mosque and running of the Islamic Dawah Centre in Delhi, both of which were managed by his father cleric Umar Gautam,” the agency said.
So far, 16 people, including key accused clerics Umar Gautam, Kaleem Siddiqui, have been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police in connection with the case lodged at the ATS Police Station in Lucknow, officials said.
Around half a dozen accused are from Maharashtra network of the syndicate, they added.
According to the ATS, bank account details of Abdullah Umar Gautam showed receipt of money from the same foreign sources as did the accounts of his father Umar Gautam.
“An amount of Rs 75 lakh was credited to Abdullah’s accounts from various sources so far, of which Rs 17 lakh came from foreign locations. This fund was used by him, his father and other associates to distribute among converted people,” the ATS said.
The illegal religious conversion syndicate being probed by the UP police has links in multiple states, including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, the officials said.
Funding for the syndicate has been received from foreign locations, including the US, the UK and Gulf countries through hawala and other illegal channels, the officials added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)