The Bombay High Court on Wednesday rejected Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s pleas in connection with investigations against him and the revocation of his passport, PTI reported. The court noted that Naik had not shown any interest in cooperating with investigators.
Naik had urged the court to direct the National Investigation Agency and the Enforcement Directorate to submit investigation reports. He also requested the court to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to cancel the revocation of his passport. Naik is accused of inciting communal disharmony and is facing charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
Justices RM Savant and Revati Mohite-Dere told the preacher that they cannot pass any order regarding his passport and asked him to file a separate petition for the purpose. “Regarding the other reliefs sought in the petition, we do not see how this court can consider them when the petitioner has not even presented himself before the probe agencies,” the judges said.
The court said that Naik cannot ask investigators to produce reports while being “ensconced in Malaysia”. “Such long distance thing will not work,” the judges said. “In the absentia of the petitioner, how can we entertain such pleas?”
The televangelist has been on the government’s radar since allegations emerged in 2016 that he had inspired one of the terrorists behind the Dhaka restaurant attack. 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 jihadist group.