The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday questioned officials of Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation in connection with the money laundering case filed against the televangelist and his organisation. The investigating officer will record their statements and examine bank documents, ED officials told PTI.
The ED had issued summons to Naik and IRF on January 20 under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The agency had asked the controversial preacher to record his statement with them by the month-end.
The ED had registered a case of money laundering against Naik and his NGO on December 30 based on a First Information Report filed against both parties by the National Investigation Agency on November 18. The NIA had alleged that Naik and his organisation were involved in unlawful activities and promoted hatred between religious groups.
The televangelist has been under scrutiny since allegations arose that he had inspired one of the militants who carried out the Dhaka cafe attack on July 1, 2016. He was also accused of meeting two brothers from Kerala who went missing in West Asia and were believed to have joined the Islamic State group. The police had arrested a few members of the IRF for allegedly radicalising men from Kerala to join the terror outfit.
On November 15, 2016, the foundation was banned for a period of five years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for Naik’s “objectionable and subversive” speeches. IRF had challenged the decision on January 14.