In the first major crackdown against televangelist Zakir Naik, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached properties of Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) worth Rs 18.37 crore in the form of mutual fund, real estate properties and bank balances.
This comes after Naik failed to appear in person before the agency despite four summons issued to him. The attachment includes mutual fund having value of Rs. 9.41 crore of Naik’s IRF, a godown worth Rs. 68 lakh belonging to M/s Harmony media private limited and a school building worth Rs 7.05 crore belonging to Islamic Education Trust in Chennai. Apart from these, 5 Bank accounts of IRF having balances of Rs. 1.23 crore have been attached provisionally. “The investigations revealed that the proceeds of crime generated through the provocative speech Naik has been either routed and transferred or utilized for the purpose other than for which they have been generated by way of creating communal disharmony and for inciting the Muslim youths and terrorists,” said a ED officer.
Naik’s close confidante Aamir Gazdar, south Mumbai based marble trader, has been the only arrest in the case. Gazdar is currently in the judicial custody and the central agency has accused him for allegedly acquiring and disposing of cash.
ED has alleged that Naik and his associates are indulging in unlawful activities and through his provocative utterances, promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India. His inflammatory speeches and lectures have inspired and incited a number of Muslim youths in India to commit unlawful activities and terrorist act, alleged ED.
ED sources stated that in view of the involvement of Naik, Gazdar and IRF in the case and laundering assets, properties controlled by them directly or indirectly become liable for attachment under the section 2 (1) (u) of PMLA Act. The agency had registered a case under the provisions of PMLA, 2002 on the basis of FIR registered by NIA in November, 2016.