In a major development, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed its first chargesheet against the controversial Islamic preacher, Zakir Naik and others in a case of money laundering. The central agency has also identified assets worth Rs. 193 crore and has already attached properties valued at Rs. 50.46 in connection with the case this far. The ED has filed the chargesheet in the Mumbai Special Court under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The attached properties include investments in mutual funds, the Islamic International School building in Chennai, 10 flats, three go-downs, two buildings, and land in Pune and Mumbai. It also includes 10 bank accounts.
The agency has also identified properties linked to the controversial preacher in Delhi and London. The ED investigation into this money laundering case is based on an FIR lodged by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). There are serious allegations of Naik’s involvement in unlawful activities through provocative speeches and promoting enmity between different religious groups in the country. The NIA has identified the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation as the organisation which planned, organised, funded and promoted Naik’s speeches from 2007 to 2011.
Moreover, the ED probe has also revealed that the Mumbai-based Harmony Media recorded his speeches and sent the edited versions of his provocative speeches to the Global Broadcasting Corporation (Dubai) and the U.K.-based Islamic Research Foundation International (IRFI) for further broadcast of his speeches on Peace TV across the globe. As per the probe agency, the IRFI received Rs. 64.86 crores from 2013 to 2017, “mostly from various dubious, suspicious or unknown sources. A large part of the funds was used for organising ‘PEACE’ conferences”. The ED investigations also revealed that more than Rs. 49 crores were transferred from Naik’s accounts in the UAE to his personal accounts in India.
Of late, Naik has been in the news in wake of unconfirmed reports which revealed that the suicide bomber and the mastermind behind the attack on the Shangri La hotel in Sri Lanka, identified as Moulvi Zahran Hashim. Hashim has a history filled with instances displaying Islamic supremacy. He had also posted several YouTube videos, in which he preaches incitement. Moulvi Zahran Hashim is said to be inspired by Naik, which becomes crystal clear when in one of his videos, he asked, “What can Sri Lankan Muslims do for Dr. Zakir Naik?” As per reports cable operators in Sri Lanka reportedly blocked Zakir Naik’s Peace TV following the Easter terror blasts in Sri Lanka.