Mumbai: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has no plans of returning to India in the near future, despite the Enforcement Directorate (ED) deadline to appear before it in Mumbai by the end of January to join the probe in case registered against him.
“Let ED issue summons to him (Naik). He has no plans of coming to India as of now. He cannot come down till the end of January, as asked by the ED in its letter,” said S Jamati. Jamati is the legal advisor to Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), Naik’s NGO told the Free Press Journal on Friday evening outside the ED office where he was questioned the whole day.
“It was a normal round of questioning by the ED officials. They asked me about the set up of IRF and who are its trustees. Nothing more did they ask me,” said Jamati.
The agency is looking into the charges of ‘illegal funds laundered’ by the accused and the subsequent proceeds of crime thus generated.
After declaring the IRF as a ‘terrorist organisation’ under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) last year, the BJP-led Central government has banned the outfit for a period of five years. Naik, who is believed to be in Saudi Arabia, questioned the timing to ban IRF and alleged that ‘IRF has been banned at a time to divert attention of media over demonetisation fiasco’.
The unnamed IRF officials as well as Naik has also been booked for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.
Last week, ED booked Naik under a case of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), and asked him and IRF to depose before it by the month end.
Of late, sleuths of National Investigation Agency (NIA) had questioned relatives as well as close associates of Naik.
Naik has not returned to India ever since it emerged that the perpetrators of Dhaka terror attack on a posh eatery in July last year were inspired by his sermons