The Enforcement Directorate has issued summons to controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for the fourth time in connection with an investigation into a money laundering case against him and his NGO Islamic Research Foundation. This is reportedly the last summon that the agency plans to send to Naik. The ED is likely to move court if the televangelist refuses to join the probe, PTI reported on Monday.
Naik was served the third summon on February 2, and he was asked to appear before the ED for questioning on February 9. He had sought permission to depose through video-conferencing. “My client is willing and ready to give any statement before you via Skype or any other mode of electronic media to assist you in your investigation,” Naik had informed the agency through his lawyer. However, the ED had dismissed his request. The agency had held that the Prevention of Money Laundering Act does not have such a provision.
Naik had also asked the agency to wait for the verdict in a case where he had challenged the ban imposed on his NGO in November 2016 for its alleged connection with terror activities. The five-year ban was imposed after one of the militants who carried out an attack in a café in Dhaka reportedly said he was inspired by Naik’s speeches and shows.
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.
Naik is reportedly living in Saudi Arabia to avoid arrest.