KOZHIKODE: A day after many Arab nations isolated Qatar for its alleged support to Islamic State and al-Qaeda, it was no surprise that the after-shocks soon began to be felt in far-off Kerala. If the sizeable presence of the Malayali diaspora in and around Doha has hitherto been a matter of pride, intelligence agencies back home are on tenterhooks as a recent probe has revealed that Qatar has been funding a few religious organisations in north Kerala.
With Kerala turning a fertile ground for IS recruits, the intelligence agencies are under pressure to track each and every twist and turn of the money trail from Qatar that weaved its way through various agencies in Malappuram and Kozhikode.
A senior intelligence officer confirmed to Express that a few institutions of Qatari origin, including government departments, have been transferring large sums to these organisations based in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts.
“In 2016 alone, these organisations received over Rs 7 crore from Qatar. Around six organisations were the beneficiaries of the funds transferred from Qatar,” the officer said.
According to the details shared by the agency sources Ministry of Endowment in Qatar was the biggest contributor to funds that flowed into Kerala last year, accounting Rs 3.5 crore. This was followed by entities such as WNO Qatar WC in Doha, Qatar Charity and Hassan Group.
A bulk of the funds that came in from Qatar went to an NGO in Malappuram. Next in the pecking order was a similar NGO in Kozhikode. Though the Ministry of Home Affairs has all the details of the transactions which have been recorded as per the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, the details of the fund utilisation are still unknown.
“We are verifying the details. Though we have been scanning the fund flow, we never suspected any hidden aspects in the tie-up of these organisations with Qatar. Most countries in the Middle-East, including the UAE and Kuwait, transfer money to various organisations in the state. But with Qatar’s nexus with terrorists organisations like IS and al-Qaeda getting exposed, we will have to initiate a series of investigations,” the officer said.
The State Police have been scouting for leads to bust the modules of organisations with terror links.
It was the Base Movement, a home-grown organisation backed by al-Qaeda ideology, that managed to trigger a couple of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blasts in Kerala that included the one in Malappuram Court on November 1, 2016.