Mumbai court to decide on no-bailable warrant against Zakir Naik tomorrow
A special PMLA court on Wednesday reserved its order on Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) plea seeking a non-bailable warrant against televangelist Zakir Naik.Updated: Apr 12, 2017 16:32 IST
A special PMLA court on Wednesday reserved its order on Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) plea seeking a non-bailable warrant against televangelist Zakir Naik. It will hear the plea again on Thursday.
The ED on Tuesday moved a plea in the special court seeking the NBW on the ground that Naik had failed to cooperate with the investigation.
ED’s counsel Hiten Venegaonkar said depsite issuing several summons Naik had failed to appear before the agency.
The agency had first issued summons to Naik in January. Naik’s overseas properties are also under scanner, sources said. “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. 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 abroad to diverst funds, said sources. The probe gathered momentum with the first arrest in the case of Aamir Gazdar, a confidante of Naik.
“Gazdar played a pivotal role in acquiring and disposing of the cash. Dummy companies were used to camouflage funds received by Naik though provocative speeches,” alleged sources.
The central agency stated that Gazdar is director in at least six companies formed by Naik. Two companies are in England — Universal Broadcasting Corporation Ltd and Lords Production Inc Ltd — four others are based in Mumbai — Harmony Media Pvt Ltd, Long-Lost Constructions Pvt Ltd, Majestic Perfumes Pvt Ltd and Alpha Lubricants Pvt Ltd.
The financial transactions between Gazdar and Naik are also under the lens. The ED alleged that Gazdar was filing IT returns in the name of his wife and children. However, he admitted that they don’t have any source of income which raises a suspicion that he was trying to layer the proceeds of crime into the system. The ED also revealed that videos of provocative speeches were produced and exported to Dubai for telecaste. “Naik used Gazdar for cash transactions without leaving any trail. The cash was collected and provided to employees of the banned Islamic Research Foundation (IRF),” the agency said.
The agency has recorded statements of Naik’s siblings — sister Nailah Noorani and brother Mohammad Abdul Karim Naik. However, they have claimed ignorance in the matter.
First Published: Apr 12, 2017 16:31 IST