Ten new ministers sworn in, CM to allocate portfolios today FOR A STRONGER CABINET
The government is closing in on controversial TV evangelist Dr Zakir Naik with a multipronged plan of action that may include the registration of an FIR by the NIA, taking his Peace TV off cable television and a review of permission to his outfit to get foreign aid, official sources said.
Naik, a doctor-turned-preacher, has always been on the radar of security agencies for making statements like “If Osama bin Laden is terrorising the US, I am with him” and “9/11 was an inside job”. But he has come under renewed focus after authorities in Bangladesh linked him to last week’s terror strike on a Dhaka café, saying some of the attackers were motivated by his speeches.
The assault claimed by the Islamic State left 20 people dead, including a 19-year-old Indian girl. “We have taken cognisance of Zakir Naik’s speeches and given instructions for a probe. CDs of his speeches are being examined,” home minister Rajnath Singh said Friday. “The National Investigation Agency is planning to register an FIR against Zakir Naik. Legal opinion is being sought,” a ministry official said.
Devendra Fadnavis expanded his ministry on Friday inducting ten new faces but put off portfolio allocation to Saturday. Speculation was rife through the day on who would get what, but the chief minister played his cards close to his chest.
In a turnaround from its aggressive stance, the Shiv Sena, which had to make do with two junior minister posts in the expansion, said it was not unhappy.
Of the ten new ministers, six were from the BJP, two from the Sena, and one each from the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and the Swabhimani Paksha. Minister of state Ram Shinde (BJP was elevated to cabinet rank.
Though there was no official word, the crucial revenue portfolio is likely to go to public works minister Chandrakant Patil, and agriculture to Pandurang Phundkar, an old BJP hand and three time party MP. The buzz CM Devendra Fadnavis (left) greets Pandurang Phundkar, as governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao looks on. was that the cooperative sector heavyweight from Solapur, Subhash Deshmukh, could get the important cooperation department that controls the rural economy, but this had not finalised till late on Friday evening.