Saturday, Sep 23, 2017 | Last Update : 12:18 AM IST

Investigation stalled as preacher hops countries

THE ASIAN AGE. | SAURABH M JOSHI
Published : Sep 14, 2017, 6:13 am IST
Updated : Sep 14, 2017, 6:14 am IST

Lack of clarity on Naik’s whereabouts has stalled the probe.

Islamic preacher Zakir Naik
 Islamic preacher Zakir Naik

Mumbai: Investigative agencies have been able to do precious little in the cases registered under charges of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. While agencies have been maintaining that his questioning is crucial in the cases, there has been lack of clarity on his location as he has been hopping countries from Gulf to southeast Asia. Issuing a red corner notice against him is also held up due to this, making the chances bleak for the investigation to reach its logical conclusion soon.

“Any action can be taken only after Naik appears and answers crucial questions pertaining to the source of funds and the instructions he issued to Gazdar and Nailah Noorani (Naik’s sister),” said a senior ED officer.

The ED’s PMLA case names Naik as the main accused who sent funds to his point man Amir Gazdar. The ED’s probe has revealed that Gazdar, who is into marble business, came in contact with Naik in 2010 and has been working for him and handling his funds to the tune of several crores.

Gazdar was arrested by the ED in February and was released on bail by a special PMLA court on July 12. The agency has now approached the Bombay high court seeking a cancellation of Gazdar’s release stating it would hamper the further probe into the case.

When a senior ED officer was asked about the course of investigation and current location of Naik, he told The Asian Age, “Naik was sent four summons by us as his questioning is important for furthering any action against him. He, however, did not appear before us. So the National Investigation Agency got Naik’s passport revoked. Concerned agencies would be in the loop of his location. We are waiting for the next course of action from Delhi.”  

Gazdar and Noorani were directors in six of the shell (dummy) companies of Naik, identified as Universal Broadcasting Corporation Ltd and Lords Production Inc Ltd, (both based in England), Longlast Constructions Ptv Ltd, Majestic Perfumes Pvt Ltd, Alpha Lubricants Pvt Ltd and Harmony Media Pvt Ltd, which are all based in Mumbai.

During their questioning, the duo claimed to the ED officials that they did not know about Naik’s activities and the source of money.

Tags: zakir naik, unlawful activities prevention act
Location: India, Maharashtra, Mumbai (Bombay)