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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Money laundering: Zakir Naik responds to summons, offers to be quizzed on Skype

Naik has also pleaded they have challenged the ban on Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), and investigation should be kept on hold till the outcome of the proceedings.

mumbai Updated: Feb 23, 2017 19:58 IST
Charul Shah
Charul Shah
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Televangelist Dr Zakir Naik
Televangelist Dr Zakir Naik (HT File Photo)

Televangelist Dr Zakir Naik has finally responded to the legal proceedings initiated against him in Mumbai and offered to be available through Skype or such other application for questioning by the law enforcement agencies in India.

Though he has not yet returned to India and appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Naik’s lawyers on Monday approached ED stating that Naik can be questioned through Skype or any other such applications.

ED had first issued summons to Naik in January while second summons was sent on February 2 asking him to appear before the agency on February 9. Naik has however, missed the dates and on Monday sent a reply in response to the summons through his lawyers.

In the letter Naik’s lawyers Mahesh Mule and Taraq Sayed have sought time for him to appear before the agency. “My client has always been law abiding and has never been accused of any offence much less of the offence of the magnitude that is under consideration. Due to the initiation of these prejudicial proceedings my client faces an extremely hostile environment and atmosphere making a fair probe impossible. In view of this my client be granted at least few months’ time to appear before you personally,” reads the letter.

Read | ED to probe financial transactions between Zakir Naik, his aide

However, he has further pleaded that he is ready to give his statement. “My client is ready to give any statement before you vide Skype or any other mode of electronic media to assist you in your investigation,” reads the letter sent by Naik through his lawyers.

Naik has also pleaded they have challenged the ban on Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), and investigation should be kept on hold till the outcome of the proceedings. IRF has been banned for five years, following a government notification declaring it to be an ‘unlawful association’ under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Read | Zakir Naik had dummy firms to divert funds, ED tells court

The central agency has filed enforcement case information reports (ECIR) against Naik. The agency is probing whether his funds came from those who were inspired by his speeches. The ED’s investigation will focus on whether Naik gained financially.

After a ban on the foundation, the NIA registered a case against Naik and the IRF on charges of inciting Muslim youth to indulge in violence and promoting enmity between groups on the basis of religion and race. The FIR has accused him of giving speeches that spread communal harmony. The agency also charged Naik with indulging in activities that are prejudicial to national integration.

First Published: Feb 21, 2017 08:24 IST

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