The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has issued a notice to controversial TV preacher Zakir Naik, asking him to appear before it for questioning on March 14.
This is the first time the security agency has issued a formal summons to Naik.
The NIA said the notice was received by the accused’s brother, Mohammad Abdul Karim Naik. The preacher has stayed out of the country ever since investigators said his sermons had influenced a few terrorists who attacked an eatery at Dhaka in neighbouring Bangladesh on July 1.
The NIA registered an FIR against Naik after his outfit – the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) – was banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
“Dr Zakir Naik is the founding trustee of the IRF, the IRF Educational Trust, and the Islamic Dimensions Trust. Apart from this, he is closely linked with Peace TV channel, Harmony Media Private Limited, Longlast Constructions Private Limited, Right Property Solutions Private Limited, Galaxy Multichannel Network Private Limited, Majestic Perfumes Private Limited and Alpha Lubricants Private Limited,” the NIA said in a statement.
The Enforcement Directorate has also registered a separate money-laundering case against Naik. The agency recorded the statement of Naik’s sister, Nailah Noorani, under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act on Tuesday.
The NIA has charged Naik and the IRF with inciting Muslim youth to indulge in violence, and promoting enmity between different communities on the basis of religion and race. The FIR lodged against the preacher also accuses him of delivering speeches that spread communal discord and indulging in activities that are prejudicial to national integration.
Bangladesh has banned Naik’s Peace TV, stating that it incited the attack on the Dhaka café, which resulted in 22 deaths.