The Enforcement Directorate has moved a court seeking issuance of a non-bailable warrant against controversial Islamic preachers Dr Zakir Naik. The court would hear the argument and may pass an order on Wednesday.
The move comes in the wake of Naik failing to appear before the agency despite being issued four summons. He was summoned four times but has failed to appear. "Ideally, as per the PMLA Act, if the agency wants to arrest the accused, then a complaint should be filed by the agency against the accused and then it should approach the PMLA court for further proceedings".
Naik's lawyer Tarak Sayyed has opposed the NBW plea filed by the ED and told the court Naik can not be made an accused as there is no complaint against him. Apart from him, his family members, and his aide Aamir Gazdar are also accused in the case.
Zakir Naik is being investigated for speeches that allegedly "spread enmity" among communities after Bangladesh said five of the terrorists involved in the attack on the 2016 Holey Artisan cafe were following his sermons. He submitted that Naik had not only expressed his willingness to virtually remain present through Internet, but that he had also supplied important documents for investigation.
"Naik conducted transactions involving large sums through Gazdar, without leaving a trail of where the money came from or what it was used for".
"Now that the court has issued the open-dated NBW against Naik, the Indian government should take up its execution with the authorities in UAE through the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)", ED lawyer Hiten Venegavkar told Mumbai Mirror.
Informed sources said the Enforcement Directorate may now seek Letters Rogatory, or letters of request, from the same court for Saudi Arabia.
The Enforcement Directorate had last month provisionally attached properties of Naik-led IRF worth Rs. 18.37 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, in the form of mutual fund, real estate properties and bank balances.
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