Enforcement Directorate issues fresh summons to Zakir Naik
Mumbai, Jan 25: The Enforcement Directorate has issued a fresh summons to Zakir Naik as part of its probe against the controversial preacher and his Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) under anti-money laundering laws. Officials said the agency has handed over the second summons in the name of Naik to IRF’s legal advisor, who was questioned by it on Tuesday at it’s zonal office here.
The first summons to Naik, issued last week, could not be delivered as Naik’s address here was found to be locked, they said. Naik, as part of the fresh summons, has been asked to appear by this month-end before the Investigating Officer of the case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), officials said.
They said the agency wants to record the statement of Naik, who is understood to be abroad. Meanwhile, the agency questioned IRF’s legal advisor yesterday and recorded his statement under PMLA and may now go on to call others associated with IRF and Naik’s associates for similar questioning, they said.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had registered a criminal case against Naik and IRF last month after taking cognizance of a complaint booked by the NIA under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against them. ED is looking into the charges of alleged illegal funds laundered by the accused and the subsequent proceeds of crime thus generated.
The agency has already scanned some documents showing “doubtful” banking transactions. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had last month registered a case against 51-year-old Naik under anti-terror laws for allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups.
After registering the case against Naik and IRF, the NIA along with Mumbai police had carried out searches at 10 places in the megapolis, including residential premises of some of the office bearers of the foundation, which was earlier put on restricted list by the Union Home Ministry for receiving funds from abroad.
Naik, who is said to be staying in Saudi Arabia to evade arrest after some perpetrators of the Dhaka terror strike last year claimed they were inspired by him, has been booked along with unnamed IRF officials under section 153-A of IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) beside various sections of UAPA.
The charges levelled by the NIA also include those under sections 10 (being member of an unlawful organisation), 13 (punishment for being member of illegal organisation) and 18 (punishment for being involved in a conspiracy for committing any terror act) of UAPA.
IRF came under the scanner of security agencies after one of the terrorists involved in the Dhaka cafe attack allegedly posted on social media that they had been inspired by Naik’s speeches. Maharashtra Police has also registered criminal cases against Naik for his alleged involvement in radicalising Muslim youth and luring them into terror activities.