PMLA court issues non-bailable warrant against Zakir Naik

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate has moved a special PMLA court in Mumbai, seeking issuance of non- bailable warrant (NBW) against world famous Islamic scholar Dr. Zakir Naik.

Once the agency gets a non-bailable arrest warrant against Naik, it would seek Letters Rogatory or letters of request from the same court for United Kingdom and UAE. "Naik has failed to appear in person and certain questions and queries can only be answered by him and his presence is necessary", said an ED officer privy to the investigation.The agency is not keen on Naik's proposal to be available via video-conferencing or a questionnaire.

The ED registered a criminal case for money laundering against Naik and others last December after taking cognisance of a complaint registered against him by the National Investigation Agency under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. ED sources said if Naik's video-conferencing request is approved, it would set a bad precedent.Naik established dummy companies in the country and overseas to diverst funds, said sources.

Zakir Naik is being investigated for speeches that allegedly "spread enmity" among communities after Bangladesh said five of the terrorists involved in the attack on the 2016 Holey Artisan cafe were following his sermons.

In February this year, the ED had arrested Naik's close aide Aamir Gazdar. The ED alleged that Gazdar was filin.

The Enforcement Directorate revealed that videos of Naik's provocative speeches were produced and exported to Dubai to be telecast.

"Naik conducted transactions involving large sums through Gazdar, without leaving a trail of where the money came from or what it was used for. The cash was collected and disbursed to employees and officials of the IRF trust", the agency has alleged.

The agency has recorded the statements of Naik's siblings - his sister Nailah Noorani and brother Mohammad Abdul Karim Naik. These letters are a formal request for judicial assistance from a foreign court.

As part of its ongoing investigation, the ED last month attached property worth Rs 18.37 crore belonging to the IRF.

  • Zachary Reyes