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Enforcement Directorate (ED) files Money Laundering Case against controversial Preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation

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Zakir Naik. Wikimedia.

New Delhi, April 17, 2017: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday filed a prosecution complaint against controversial preacher and televangelist Zakir Naik’s close aide Aamir Gazdar for money laundering.

Last year, the ED had registered a money laundering case against Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) on the basis of a FIR registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

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“It was alleged that Dr Zakir Abdul Karim Naik and his associates were indulging in unlawful activities and through his provocative utterances, promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India.

“His inflammatory speeches and lectures have inspired and incited a number of Muslim youths in India to commit unlawful activities and terrorist acts,” a statement from the Directorate said.

The Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), Mumbai was declared as unlawful under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 by a government order on November 17, 2016.

Based on the investigation conducted, Gazdar was arrested by the ED under Section 19 of the PMLA on February 16 and is currently in judicial custody.

The ED said during the investigation, it was found that certain dummy companies were established by Naik for routing the proceeds of crime. Out of the various companies established by Naik, Gazdar was Director in at least six of those.

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The investigation also revealed that Gazdar, a confidant of Naik, was in close touch with him and also involved in illegal activities at the behest of Naik and was not only aware of many of his nefarious and illegal activities but actively collaborated and assisted in such activities.

“Aamir Gazdar has even gone beyond and knowingly assisted Naik and his associated companies in their financial shenanigans by providing ‘accommodation entries’ and parking and utilising these tainted monies through his personal bank accounts and the bank accounts of his family members,” the ED statement read.

The agency said unaccounted money around Rs 5.15 crore belonging to Naik in cash had been handled by him on the instructions of Naik without leaving any trail on its origin or utilisation within a span of eight months only.

“No other person is privy to the source and actual use of this substantial unaccounted cash.”

The ED has already attached properties in the form of Mutual Funds, real estate properties and bank balances worth Rs 17.45 crore of the Islamic Research Foundation.

A special court on April 13 issued a non-bailable warrant for arrest against Naik after he failed to appear before the ED despite four summons served on him.

The statement added that the ED may file supplementary prosecution complaints against Naik as he had so far not appeared before it. (IANS)

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India will soon ask Malaysia to extradite Preacher Zakir Naik

India will soon approach Malaysia with a request to extradite hardline Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.

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India will Request Malayasia to extradite Zakir Naik
India will Request Malayasia to extradite Zakir Naik. wikimedia commons
  • India will seek the Malaysian government’s help in extraditing televangelist Zakir Naik who faces charges of money laundering and inciting hatred through his sermons broadcast on Peace TV, the foreign ministry said Friday.

Zakir Naik obtained permanent residency in Malaysia 

Officials will approach their Malaysian counterparts with the extradition request sometime within the next two weeks, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told a weekly news briefing in New Delhi.

“Any formal request seeking the assistance of a foreign government in cases of extradition requires a completion of the internal legal process involving consultation with other ministries involved in the case,” Kumar said.

“At this stage, we are nearing the completion of this process and as soon as this process is complete we will be making an official request to the Malaysian government in this matter,” Kumar said. “It could be a couple of days or a couple of weeks. But it would be soon and the nature of our request would also be clear.”

Naik fled India a month before terrorist carried out a massacre at a café in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in July 2016. This week, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister said the Islamic preacher legally obtained permanent residency in the country, and that Malaysian authorities would arrest him only if he broke local laws or was found to be involved in terrorist activities.

Naik’s speeches allegedly inspired some of the militants who carried out the siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery café in Dhaka, where 29 people, including 20 hostages and five gunmen, were killed.

In November 2016, the Indian government banned Naik’s Mumbai-based NGO Islamic Research Foundation, which partly funded the Peace TV channel that is banned in India, Bangladesh and several other countries.

Kumar said because the Indian government had knowledge of Naik’s whereabouts, the legal procedures would be tailored to requirements between the two countries in their extradition treaty.

Advocate challenges charges

“Naik is being hounded because he hails from a minority community. The charges that the investigating agencies are trying to frame are all stale and are hardly incriminating,” advocate S. Hariharan told BenarNews in a phone interview from Delhi.

“The charges lack veracity and would not stand scrutiny in the court of law. We will be challenging the extradition and deportation.”

Last week, the Indian government filed a 61-page charge sheet against Naik alleging he was involved in a criminal conspiracy by lauding terrorist organizations. In April, a non-bailable warrant was issued against him in an alleged case of money laundering through his NGO and a shell company.

In Malaysia meanwhile, the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) has urged the government to ignore any request from India to extradite Zakir Naik, Reuters reported.

“For Muslim individuals, even when they won by using arguments and not weapons, like Dr. Zakir Naik, they are considered terrorists because their arguments cannot be countered,” PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang wrote last week in an opinion piece published in Harakah Daily.(BenarNews)

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Will India be able to get hold of Zakir Naik? India to now seek Interpol’s help locating the Controversial Islamic Televangelist

Naik, 51, came under the Indian government’s radar after Bangladesh media reported that at least two perpetrators of a terrorist attack at Dhaka’s Holey Artisan Bakery café, where 20 hostages were killed in July 2016, were influenced by his sermons

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Zakir Naik
Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik speaks to Indian journalists in Mumbai during a video conference, July 15, 2016. Benar News

Mumbai, October 29, 2017 : India plans to ask Interpol to help track down Zakir Naik, an Islamic preacher accused of making inflammatory speeches that inspired attackers at a Bangladesh café in July 2016, an official said Friday, one day after the cleric was charged with inciting communal hatred.

In a charge-sheet filed in a Mumbai court late Thursday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) alleged that televangelist Zakir Naik was involved in a criminal conspiracy to foment terrorism and hatred among religious communities by lauding terrorist outfits.

The 61-page document viewed by BenarNews also accused Naik’s now-forbidden Mumbai-based NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and his company Harmony Media Pvt. Ltd. (HMPL) of forwarding his agenda.

Naik, 51, came under the Indian government’s radar after Bangladesh media reported that at least two perpetrators of a terrorist attack at Dhaka’s Holey Artisan Bakery café, where 20 hostages were killed in July 2016, were influenced by his sermons.

ALSO READ NIA to file Chargesheet against Controversial Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik

“We are already preparing papers to get him deported back to India,” an NIA official told BenarNews on condition of anonymity. Naik, who left the country in June 2016, is believed to be traveling between the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) president on Friday defended Naik against the charge sheet filed in India, the Malay Mail reported.

“For Muslim individuals, even when they won by using arguments and not weapons, like Dr. Zakir Naik, they are considered terrorists because their arguments cannot be countered,” Hadi said in an opinion piece on Islamophobia published in Harakah Daily.

Naik had been scheduled to appear at a PAS-organized gathering of Muslim scholars in Malaysia’s Kelantan state in July, but cancelled after India revoked his passport.

Arrest warrant issued in April

In April, the Mumbai court issued a so-called non-bailable arrest warrant against Naik after he repeatedly ignored summons issued by India’s Enforcement Directorate to appear to respond to allegations of misuse of foreign funds donated to his NGO.

The Indian government imposed a five-year ban on IRF in November 2016, citing violations by the NGO under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act and the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

“Since the money-laundering case against Naik hinged on the NIA investigation, it was necessary that the agency filed its charge-sheet,” public prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar told BenarNews.

The NIA’s charge-sheet will allow the agency to approach Interpol for assistance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can then initiate the process of bringing Naik back, Venegaonkar said.

ALSO READ Enforcement Directorate (ED) files Money Laundering Case against controversial Preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation

The NIA accused Zakir Naik of praising late al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, supporting suicide attacks and denouncing Hindu gods during sermons delivered through Peace TV. The channel partly funded by the IRF is banned in several countries, including India and Bangladesh.

The NIA has “firmly established that the incriminating public speeches have been in circulation through electronic media such as CD/DVD and web portals Facebook/YouTube etc.,” the charge-sheet said.

“The minutes of IRF board of trustees’ meeting disclose that IRF has approved, organized, promoted and funded public lectures of accused Zakir Naik, including his incriminating speeches. The seized material such as DVD and books list IRF as the publisher,” it said.

The agency also established the role of HMPL in editing the incriminating material and “forwarding [Naik’s] speeches to the Global Broadcast Corporation Dubai for broadcast in the Peace TV.”

“The derogatory and malicious remarks were not just confined to faiths and beliefs of Hindus or Christians but also included non-Wahabi Muslims, particularly Shia, Sufi and Barelwis,” the NIA said.

The charge-sheet cited cases of several youths who were allegedly influenced by Naik’s sermons and attempted to join the Islamic State.

The accused “never included any reference to alternative interpretations by Muslim scholars of the views he presented nor sought to mitigate the potential offence by providing sufficient context for his remarks,” it said.

Lawyer prepared to challenge extradition

Zakir Naik’s lawyer S. Hariharan said he would wait to decide the next course of action.

“I have yet to receive the charge-sheet. Although as per protocol the charge-sheet is handed to the accused. But in this case, the accused is not present in the country,” Hariharan told Benarnews without divulging Naik’s current location.

“We will most certainly be seeking discharge after we receive the charge-sheet and will also challenge demands for extradition,” he added. (Benar News)

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NIA to file Chargesheet against Controversial Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik

As per officials, all formalities to file the chargesheet against Naik have been completed and will be duly submitted before a special court within this week

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Zakir Naik
Zakir Abdul Karim Naik is an Indian Islamic preacher, and the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 24, 2017: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is all set to charge sheet the controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for his alleged involvement in money laundering and terror funding activities in India.

As per officials, all formalities to file the charge sheet against Naik have been completed and will be duly submitted before a special court within this week.

The evangelical preacher with an active television presence first came under the lens of security forces following confessions by some terrorists in Bangladesh allegedly involved in the attacks on a café in Dhaka in last July. The perpetrators had claimed that they were reportedly inspired by Naik’s hate speeches.

Following the allegations, the Islamic –preacher had fled from India on July 1, 2016, and continues to live outside the country.

Consequently, on November 18, 2016, the NIA had registered a case in its Mumbai branch against Zakir Naik under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.  Previously, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), Zakir Naik’s NGO based in Mumbai has also been declared an unlawful organization as per the directives of the Union Home Ministry.

It was alleged that Zakir Naik and his connections were allegedly indulging in ‘unlawful activities’ that were proving to be hazardous for the country and its youth.

In an official statement in April this year, the Enforcement Directorate had said that Zakir Naik “through his provocative utterance (is) promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India.”

The statement had also said that “His inflammatory speeches and lectures have inspired and incited a number of Muslim youths in India to commit unlawful activities and terrorist acts.”

All these charges were repeatedly denied by Naik.

Additionally, the Ministry of External Affairs also revoked Zakir Naik’s passport on behest of the NIA earlier this year.

The NIA had also thrice issued notices to Zakir Naik to cooperate and join the investigations. However, he did not comply and did not appear before it.

ALSO READ Special NIA Court issues non-bailable warrant against Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik for his role in a Terror case

Zakir Naik’s NGO has been alleged to hold ‘dubious’ links to an international Islamic TV channel ‘Peace TV’ accused of propagating terrorism. Naik was also alleged to have to transferred IRF’s international funding to the TV channel to make ‘objectionable’ programmes.

As per the Home Ministry, Zakir Naik has made multiple hate speeches that provoke people to engage in terrorist propaganda. It has been previously revealed that a handful of Indian youth allegedly inspired by Naik, have left their homes to join Islamic State forces.

Zakir Naik’s speeches are banned in US, Malaysia, and Canada.

The televangelist, who had fled the country in July last year after his name had surfaced during a probe into the Bangladesh terror attacks, continues to live in Saudi Arabia and is now being probed by the NIA under charges of money laundering and terror funding.