The CBI has registered cases against the former chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board, a top Muslim body, and others, for alleged illegal sale, purchase and transfer of Waqf properties in Uttar Pradesh.
The state government had ordered a CBI probe last year into alleged illegal sale and transfer of Waqf properties by UP Shia Central Waqf Board and UP Sunni Central Waqf Board.
Based on the Uttar Pradesh government's recommendation, the central probe agency registered two cases against the former chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board, Wasim Rizvi, and others. The CBI invoked charges of cheating, criminal intimidation and breach of trust.
Uttar Pradesh Police had registered two First Information Reports (FIRs) against Wasim Rizvi and others in Prayagraj and capital Lucknow in 2016 and 2017 respectively, based on two separate complaints.
The Prayagraj case against Mr Rizvi is in connection to alleged illegal construction of shops at the Imambara Ghulam Haider in Prayagraj. The second case is linked to a piece of land in Kanpur where Mr Rizvi is accused of cheating and intimidating the caretaker of the plot.
The Uttar Pradesh government, in its notification last year, had asked the CBI to take over the investigation in both these cases "as well as investigation into illegal sale/purchase and transfer of Waqf properties by UP Shia Central Waqf Board and UP Sunni Central Waqf Board".
After a delay of more than a year, the centre cleared the proposal of the state government on Wednesday and directed the CBI to take over the investigation of these two cases.
Along with Mr Rizvi, the CBI has named Naresh Krishna Somani, Vijay Krishna Somani, Ghulam Sayyden Rizvi and Waqar Raza.
Though both the FIRs re-registered by the CBI names only the Shia Waqf Board office-bearers, sources in agency told NDTV, "Through these two FIRs, we will be probing into alleged illegal sale, purchase and transfer of Waqf properties by both the boards in the state of Uttar Pradesh."
Last November, Mr Rizvi, who was then heading the UP Shia Central Waqf Board, had welcomed the Supreme Court verdict which cleared the wat for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and had announced that he is donating Rs. 51,000 for the construction.