In a massive crackdown, the Enforcement Directorate has reportedly attached properties worth Rs.16.40 crore in Mumbai and Pune, belonging to radical Islamist preacher Zakir Naik, under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
According to reports, the ED investigations have revealed that funds of Rs around 49.20 crores were received in the non-resident external (NRE) bank accounts of accused Zakir Naik in India from his Dubai accounts and the origin of these deposits were unknown.
Earlier in October 2018, the NIA court had ordered the attachment of five properties belonging to Naik in Mumbai’s Mazgaon area.
Zakir Naik reportedly used the funds to the tune of Rs 17.65 crore to buy properties in projects like Fatima Heights and Aafiyah Heights in Mumbai, ENGRACIA in Pune and also a venture at Bhandup, Mumbai. The builders involved include Salim Kodia from M/s MK Enterprises, Munaf Vadgam from M/s Aafiyah Realtors, Sameer Khan from M/s Pacific Orient Genesis Associates, and Musa Lakdawala, partner of M/s Lakdawala & Yash Associates.
In an attempt to disguise the origin of funds and the real ownership of properties, the initial payment from Zakir Naik’s account was diverted to those of his wife, son and niece to buy properties in the name of relatives, as reported by the money trail established by ED. “The total attachment as Proceeds of Crime, in this case, is Rs 50.49 crore including the present attachment. Further investigation is in progress,” said a statement released by ED.
The investigation was initiated by ED on the basis of the charge sheet filed by National Investigation Agency (NIA) on 26 October 2017 before the court of Special Judge, NIA, Mumbai, against Zakir Naik and others under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The criminal case against him was registered in 2016.
According to the charge sheet, Zakir Naik had deliberately and maliciously insulted the religious beliefs of Hindus, Christians as well as Muslims who didn’t follow the Wahhabi-Salafist ideology preached by him. Naik is accused of making abusive remarks against Hindus, Christians, Shia, Sufi and Barelwis, with intention of outraging their religious feelings.
For such activities the accused was receiving funds from the Islamic Research Foundation as well as other unknown sources, states the ED release, adding that the Islamic Research Foundation and M/s. Harmony Media has been instrumental in the maximum circulation of Zakir Naik’s incriminating speeches.
Naik has been notorious in spreading hatred between religious groups and for inciting Muslim youth to join in the jihad against non-believers of Islam. He used to use his NGO ‘Islamic Research Foundation’ (IRF) and a TV channel (Peace TV) to air his hate speeches in the country. The government of India had taken the channel off the air and banned the NGO.