Not booked for bank fraud, says Zakir Naik on Fugitive Economic Offender application against him
ED has sought to declare Naik an FEO and confiscate his properties in India and abroad as he failed to return to India.Updated: Dec 17, 2019 07:57 IST
Televangelist Zakir Naik recently questioned the application of the Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO) Act against him as he is not booked for any financial fraud.
Naik’s lawyers Taraq Sayyed and Mobin Solkar submitted a reply on behalf of Naik in response to the demand of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to declare Naik an FEO.
ED has sought to declare Naik an FEO and confiscate his properties in India and abroad as he failed to return to India. However, Naik’s lawyers have claimed that he had left the country in September 2016, much before any case was registered against him or his organisation, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF).
Naik alleged that he hasn’t been booked for cheating or any bank-fraud case. “It is evident from the case of the prosecution that none of the alleged offences against the applicant [Naik] is related to non-repayment of bank loans or any offences relating to the banking channel. On the contrary, it is pertinent to note that none of the offences for which the applicant [Naik] has been charged with, comes within the purview of the scheduled offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA),” Naik claimed in his reply.
Naik has questioned the prosecution initiated against him under the PMLA as well as Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Naik’s organisation was declared unlawful under UAPA on November 17, 2016. After the declaration, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had on November 18, 2016, filed a case against Naik and others for allegedly inciting youths.
The NIA alleged that “Naik has been promoting enmity between different religious groups in India through his public speeches and lectures on various platforms, and inciting Muslim youth and terrorists in India and abroad to commit unlawful activities and terror acts. After the NIA, ED registered a case of money laundering against Naik. The ED has alleged that the total proceeds of crime generated between 2003 and 2016 amounted to ₹193.06 crore. ED has alleged that Naik has received money through donations and that the money has been laundered. “Considering the case of the prosecution to be true for a moment, the amount of money received by the applicant [Naik] in the form of donation under no stretch of imagination can be termed as proceeds of crime,” Naik said, challenging the charges of money laundering.
Naik, while questioning the case registered against UAPA, has claimed that the agencies have no evidence to say that after the organisation was declared as unlawful, he was part of it or there were any meetings held where he participated.