A special court in Mumbai on Thursday issued an open-dated, non-bailable warrant against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik in connection with a case of money-laundering registered against him by the Enforcement Directorate, ANI reported. The central investigative agency had moved court earlier this week, saying that Naik had failed to show up despite repeated summons.
The Enforcement Directorate had earlier attached assets worth Rs 18.37 crore belonging to the controversial preacher’s Islamic Research Foundation in connection with the money-laundering case against him. The National Investigation Agency had on March 20 summoned Naik for the second time, asking him to appear before it on March 30. The agency had issued its first notice to the televangelist on March 7, asking him to appear at the NIA headquarters on March 14. Naik is believed to be in Saudi Arabia, evading arrest.
The ED had registered a case of money laundering against Naik and his NGO on December 30 based on an FIR filed against both parties by the NIA on November 18. The agency had alleged that Naik and his foundation were involved in unlawful activities and promoted hatred between religious groups.
The televangelist has been on the government’s radar since allegations arose that he had inspired one of the terrorists behind the Dhaka restaurant attack on July 1, 2016. He was also accused of meeting two brothers from Kerala who were among those who went missing in West Asia and were feared to have joined the Islamic State group.