The sources in ED suspect that a big chunk of the donations was spent for religious conversions.
Mumbai: Several bank accounts belonging to televangelist Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and its media arm Harmony Media Private Limited allegedly received donations worth Rs 200 crore between 2013 and 2016. Out of the Rs 200 crore, around Rs 60 crore came from Saudi Arabia, and the preferred route for sending funds was via Dubai, according to the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The sources in ED suspect that a big chunk of the donations was spent for religious conversions.
The ED is conducting a probe against Naik and IRF after it registered a money-laundering case against them in November 2016. The ED officials said that they are in the process of getting the list of those who converted and as the investigation progresses their statements would also be recorded to ascertain the quantum of funds given to them. “The probe into the money trail has revealed that the bank accounts of the two entities and Naik received at least
Rs 200 crore in last four years. The 70 per cent of the money transferred into accounts was from India. We are also probing the source of these funds,” said a senior ED official, requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, the officials have questioned at least ten people including the past and present employees of the IRF, its accountants and Naik’s personal assistant. The agency is now working on the leads that have emerged from these statements.
The investigators said that all the money that came from overseas was routed via Dubai. The officials are in the process of ascertaining the countries from where the money came to Dubai and are suspecting that maximum funds came from Saudi Arabia. About donations received from within India, ED officials said that many of the donors are individuals who follow and support Naik and his ideology. The ED officials added that the donations were received for religious purposes and were diverted for other purposes.