The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has taken over the probe into alleged illegal sale, purchase and transfer of Waqf properties in Prayagraj and Kanpur, and booked Waseem Rizvi, former chairman of Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board, in this regard. The Chief Minister Yogi-Adityanath led state government had last year referred two FIRs registered by the Uttar Pradesh police--a 2016 case registered in Allahabad and a 2017 case registered in Lucknow--against Rizvi and others in connection with the case.
The Centre had on Wednesday given its nod to the CBI to proceed with the case. The Allahabad case relates to alleged encroachment and illegal construction of shops at Imambara Ghulam Haider in 2016, while the Lucknow case is about allegations of land grabbing in Swaroop Nagar in Kanpur in 2009, according to officials.
Recently, Rizvi and two others were booked in Bijnor district on charges of extortion and threatening the caretaker of the famous Jogipura shrine. The FIR was lodged after the direction of the local additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, as per media reports.
In 2018, Waseem Rizvi was “excommunicated” for not heeding to a fatwa issued by Iraq’s top Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani against handing over Waqf properties for the construction of a temple or shrine. Rizvi’s “ouster” from the Shia community, following the controversy over his offer of disputed land at Babri Masjid site for Ram Temple construction, was announced by senior Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad in Lucknow during Friday prayers.
While rejecting the fatwa, Rizvi had said that the UP Shia Waq Board will follow the Indian Constitution and not the fatwa. “There is an international pressure on the Shia Waqf Board to support the Babri Masjid litigants. This fatwa from Ayatollah Sistani is a part of that tactic. Shia Waqf Board will work as per the norms laid down by the Indian Constitution and not as per any pressure from terrorists or according to any fatwa. We are not ready to abide by the cleric's opinion. The advice was taken after misguiding him on the issue,” he had said.