NIA files charge-sheet against televangelist Zakir Naik
The agency had registered a case against the controversial preacher in November 2016 for allegedly inciting youngsters into taking up terrorist activitiesmumbai Updated: Oct 27, 2017 00:11 IST
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a 5,000-page charge sheet before a special court against televangelist Dr Zakir Naik and his aides on Thursday in a case filed against them for allegedly inciting youngsters and for financing terror activities. The charge sheet has made the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and Harmony Media Private Limited — two institutions floated by Naik — the accused.
The charge sheet was filed on the basis of 151 witnesses, of which the statements of 63 have been recorded. The NIA’s investigation revealed Naik promoted enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India through his public speeches and lectures, and conspired with IRF Trust and Harmony Media to commit the offence.
The NIA states the minutes of IRF board of trustees’ disclose that the firm approved, organised, promoted and funded public lectures by Naik, including his incriminating speeches. Investigations also revealed Harmony Media was used to video record incriminating speeches and also for their circulation to the Global Broadcast Corporation, Dubai, which was used to broadcast the speeches on Peace TV.
The charge sheet also states Naik had made many incriminating speeches during the 10-day Peace Conference organised by IRF in Mumbai from 2007 to 2011. It states IRF had planned, organised, funded and promoted this event where there was open exhortation to convert people of other religion into Islamic religion by Naik.
NIA claims Naik deliberately and maliciously insulted the religious beliefs of Hindus, Christians and non-Wahabi Muslims, particularly Shia, Sufi, and Barelwis, with intention of outraging their religious feelings.
The investigation also pointed to two quotes made by Naik during the Ganpati festival in September 2012, which were uploaded on his Facebook account by IRF. Investigations revealed Naik’s admission before the Supreme Court that the quotes were posted on his Facebook account by an IRF employee, Asif Sheikh.
Naik told the Apex Court that Asif was not an employee anymore. NIA investigations, however, revealed Asif’s name was removed from the list of IRF employees and he was shown as an employee of another outfit named ‘Islamic Dimensions’.
NIA also has stated Peace TV was found guilty of breaking the communications act in the United Kingdom. NIA found Naik’s sister Nailah Naushad Noorani was a trustee of the IRF Educational Trust along with him. When Naik became a non-resident Indian in 2013, he appointed Noorani as director of Harmony Media as well as in Longlast Constructions Company. But Noorani was just a director on paper, and she would sign cheques only at the instructions of her brother and had no knowledge of the company affairs, the NIA stated. Noorani, interestingly, had received Rs29 crore from Naik through her parents bank account between 2013 and 2016, and this was invested in Harmony Media and Longlast Constructions company.
Investigations revealed there are 19 immovable properties, including land and buildings worth Rs104 crore connected with Naik, and investigations are in progress to find the source of acquisition.