Mumbai News: 4 Religious Council Officials Held In Halal Certificate Extortion Case

Mumbai News: 4 Religious Council Officials Held In Halal Certificate Extortion Case

UP STF arrests top officials of Halal Council of India; BJP leader alleges they coerced food exporters to buy certificates having no official value

Dharmesh ThakkarUpdated: Tuesday, February 13, 2024, 09:54 PM IST
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Mumbai: The Uttar Pradesh police special task force (STF) has arrested four city-based top officials of the Halal Council of India, a private institution, for forcing food exporters to buy halal certificates even when the outfit has no such authority. Arrested from different parts of Mumbai late Monday night, the quartet were identified as Council President Habib Yusuf, Vice President Maulana Muidshir Sapadia, General Secretary Mohammed Tahir Zakir Hussain Chauhan and Treasurer Mohammed Anwar.

Based on the complaint filed by Awadh region BJP president Shailendra Sharma, a case was filed in UP's Hazratganj police station on November 18, 2023. The politician alleged that the accused was forcing exporters to buy halal certificates even for veggies and other products that don't require such validation. The complaint also accuses other organisations, including Halal India Pvt Ltd and Jamiat Ulema Hind Halal Trust Delhi, of providing illegal halal certificates to make profits.

Probe ordered into functioning of officials named in FIR

The UP STF, headed by Additional Director General of Police Amitabh Yash, had ordered investigations into the functioning of the officials named in the FIR. “Halal certification is not mandatory, but the accused institutions were forcing establishments in the food business to take halal certifications. They (outfits) are not authorised by any government agencies to issue such a document,” explained a senior STF official. The agency also suspects that some of the funds collected from the halal certification was being diverted for anti-social activities.

Most of the prominent Muslim organisations refused to comment on the arrests. Few businesspersons involved in the exports of food products to the UAE and other Islamic nations claimed that halal certification was a requirement for sale of Indian products to meet the legal provisions of these countries. “Fruits, vegetables, packaged food items, including meat and poultry, juices and pickles, all need halal certified for exports to the Middle East and other Islamic countries,” said the exporters requesting not to be named.

Reacting to the arrests, Advocate Shoaib Memon said that the FIR is against bogus halal certification. “It is alleged that in the absence of proper checks, these bodies are issuing halal certificates by charging huge amounts,” he added.

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