Islamist Preacher, Known As ‘Kerala’s Zakir Naik’, Arrested While Trying To Flee The Country  MM Akbar, known as Kerala’s Zakir Naik. (Facebook)

MM Akbar, an Islamist preacher and the managing director of Kochi-based Peace International School, was arrested in Hyderabad on Sunday based on a tip-off from Interpol, News18 has reported.

Akbar, often called ‘Kerala’s Zakir Naik’, was arrested when he was trying to flee the country, reports said. He had arrived in Hyderabad from Australia and was scheduled to board a flight to Doha on Monday.

The Islamist preacher has been accused of inciting communal hatred by preaching objectionable content in his schools. In January, Kerala government had shut down his school near Kochi. Abdul Rasheed, who is suspected to be the ring leader of the group of 21 people who went missing from Kerala and reportedly joined the Islamic State in Afghanistan and Syria, was an employee of his school.

According to officers involved in the investigation, textbooks published by Navi Mumbai-based Burooj Realization, which allegedly propagated Islamic orthodoxy and conversion, were distributed in all the 13 branches of his school. The investigating agency found that the schools were not using textbooks prescribed by the State Council of Educational Research and Training, the National Council of Educational Research and Training or the Central Board of Secondary Education.

In 2016, when Kerala police registered criminal cases against him for disturbing communal harmony, Akbar went absconding and reportedly took refuge in Dubai. Following this, Kerala police sought assistance from Interpol to issue a lookout notice against the Islamist preacher.

"State Intelligence and Interpol officials received information that Akbar was flying from Australia to Dubai. The flight made a transit halt in Hyderabad and Akbar was supposed to take the connecting flight to Dubai on Monday,’’ sources told The New Indian Express.

Based on this information, Immigration officials at the airport nabbed Akbar.

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