ED may seek Interpol arrest warrant against Zakir Naik, move to revoke his passport
If Naik’s passport is revoked, he will no longer be able to stay in Saudi Arabia, making it easier for the central agency to detain and question himmumbai Updated: Apr 17, 2017 11:24 IST
Seeking to tighten the noose around controversial preacher Zakir Naik, the enforcement directorate (ED) may move to revoke his passport and ask Interpol to issue a red-corner notice (RCN) against him. Naik is currently in Saudi Arabia. If his passport is revoked, he will no longer be able to stay there, making it easier for the central agency to detain and question him.
ED sources said they were considering approaching the Mumbai passport office that had issued Naik’s passport. The agency recently sought a non-bailable warrant against Naik, citing his absence despite repeated summons. The warrant was subsequently issued by a special court.
“We have several options at our disposal, such as revoking Naik’s passport and seeking an RCN against him,” said a senior ED officer.
An RCN is an international arrest warrant circulated by Interpol on behalf of a country’s government. For instance, if a person commits an offence in India and flees to a foreign country, the police can request Interpol to issue an RCN against the accused, provided that certain conditions are met.
The ED on Saturday filed a charge sheet against Aamir Gazdar, a close confidante of Naik, and Harmony Media Limited — a company floated by Naik — for allegedly laundering money on behalf of the controversial televangelist. Gazdar is the only accused to be arrested so far.
The central agency has filed an enforcement case information report (ECIR) against Naik. The ED is in the process of probing whether people who were inspired by Naik’s speeches funded his activities.
After the Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation was banned, the national investigating agency registered a case against the televangelist and his organisation for inciting Muslims to engage in violence and for promoting enmity among groups based on religion and race. Police accused him of giving speeches that spread communal unrest.