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NIA issues fresh summons to Zakir Naik, ED attaches Rs 18.37 cr assets of IRF

India TV News Desk New Delhi 20 Mar 2017, 23:51:40 IST
India TV News Desk

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) today issued a second notice to controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik to appear before it on March 30 to join the investigation in a case filed against him under an anti-terror law. 

The agency had earlier issued the first summons to him on March 7, asking him to appear on March 14.

NIA officials said Naik has been asked to appear at its headquarters in New Delhi. 

The fresh summons were issued by the agency after acquiring confessional statements of some of the witnesses, the NIA said. 

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate today attached assets worth Rs 18.37 crore of Islamic Research Foundation and others in connection with its money laundering probe against Naik. 

An NIA spokesman said that nearly 60 persons had been examined by the probe agency so far which included some of family members of Naik, some of his business associates, some employees and staff of the Islamic Research Foundation as well as Harmony Media Private Limited, founded by the controversial preacher. 

"Some of the witnesses have given statements before the Magistrate, wherein they have stated as to how Dr Zakir Naik had promoted enmity and hatred among the people of different religious beliefs, through his public utterances, and how he had hurt the religious sentiments of followers of other sects or religions," the spokesman said. 

He alleged that the probe also shows that Naik has procured a number of properties in and around Mumbai in the name of his family members, relatives and the companies set up by him. 

"Naik has transferred huge amount of money from his foreign bank accounts to his bank accounts in India in last few years. However, the source of this foreign income is yet to be identified," the spokesman said, adding that the controversial preacher had earlier been asked to join the probe on March 14, but he did not turn up. 

"When no response was received from his end, the second notice was issued to him for joining the investigation on March 30. So far, Naik has not responded to the notices issued by the NIA," the spokesman said. 

The notice has been sent to the Mumbai residence of 51-year-old Naik, who is believed to be staying in Saudi Arabia to evade arrest after his activities came under scanner following accusations that he had inspired some of the terrorists who attacked a cafe in Dhaka last year. 

An FIR against Naik and his associates was registered by the NIA in November last year. 

In the FIR, the NIA alleged that Naik incited Muslim youths to commit unlawful and terrorist acts, the official said.

The physician-turned-preacher has been booked along with unnamed officials of his Islamic Research Foundation (IRF)  for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony. Sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) have also been slapped on him.

NIA and Mumbai police had also carried out searches at 10 places in the megapolis, including residential premises of some of the office bearers of a foundation run by Naik, which was earlier put on restricted list by the Union Home Ministry for receiving funds from abroad. 

The Centre had declared Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), an NGO based at Dongri in south Mumbai, an unlawful organisation under the UAPA. 

The Delhi High Court had recently upheld the decision to immediately ban IRF saying the organisation and its president and members were indulging in "unlawful activity". 

Besides the IRF, Naik is also founding trustee of the IRF Educational Trust and the Islamic Dimensions Trust. 

The speeches of Naik are banned in the UK, Canada and Malaysia. 

Naik has rejected all allegations of involvement in terror-related activities and opposed ban on the IRF.

ED attaches Rs 18.37 cr assets of IRF, others in probe against Zakir Naik

The Enforcement Directorate today attached assets worth Rs 18.37 crore of Islamic Research Foundation and others in connection with its money laundering probe against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. 

The agency issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) attaching mutual funds worth about Rs 9.41 crore and five bank accounts containing deposits worth Rs 1.23 crore in the name of Naik's NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF).
The order also attached a school building valued at Rs 7.05 crore belonging to Islamic Education Trust Chennai and a godown building in the name of Ms Harmony Media Private Limited worth Rs 68 lakhs. 

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) said it attached the assets "in view of their involvement in the case." 

The central probe agency had registered a criminal case against Naik and others last December after taking cognisance of an NIA complaint filed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). 

It had also issued four summons to Naik to depose before it, but the agency said the preacher has "avoided" all of them. 

"The investigations reveal that the proceeds of crime generated through the provocative speech of Naik have been either routed and transferred or utilised for the purpose other than for which they have been generated, by way of creating communal disharmony and for inciting the Muslim youths and terrorists. 

"Due to the said reason, the trust/organisation IRF has been banned under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967," it said in a statement. 

The agency had earlier arrested Naik's close aide, Amir Abdul M Gazdar, in this case and he is at present in judicial custody.

The ED is looking into the charges of alleged laundering of illegal funds in the case and the subsequent proceeds of crime thus generated. 

The attachment of assets under PMLA is aimed to deprive the accused from taking benefits of his ill-gotten wealth and such an order gets confirmed after an order is passed by the Adjudicating Authority of the said Act within 180 days.