New Delhi: Despite the Enforcement Directorate (ED) having expressed its desire to not conduct proceedings via video conferencing or e-mail, controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has sought a questionnaire from the agency, fearing his arrest if he lands in India.
ED is unwilling to accept the proposal of Zakir Naik seeking to record statement and respond to summons via video conferencing or e-mail, sources told ANI earlier.
The letter, which was written by Naik’s lawyer Mahesh Mule on his behalf, sought the submission of detailed questionnaire and list of documents that the department requires.
“Our apprehension regarding the probe stood fortified with the arrest of Mr. Aamir Gazdar which we are afraid shall also be the fate of our Client in case of personal appearance. The fact that the arrest has taken place despite NIA having possession of all documents leaves much to be desired,” the letter read.
Naik’s lawyer further asserted that it has been placed on the agency’s record that till date he has not been served with any summon in a manner contemplated under law.
” My client is willing to furnish all evidence and material that you may desire through email or telephonic conversation in case of urgency,” Mule added.
The ED on January 20 issued summons to Zakir Naik and his organization Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The foundation had first come under the scanner after the terrorist responsible for Dhaka attack earlier this year, in an online post had said, that he was inspired by Naik’s speeches.
Naik has been out of the country since reports emerged that his sermons influenced a few Bangladeshi attackers, who targeted an eatery in Dhaka on July 1. The Dhaka cafe attack, where 10 gunmen had taken several people hostage had left 28 people dead.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had in November registered a case against Naik and others under sections 10 (Penalty for being member of an unlawful association) and 13 (Punishment for unlawful activities) and other various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), said the spokesperson.
The Union Government had declared the IRF as an “outlawed organisation” under the anti-terror law for its alleged terror activities, following which the Maharashtra Government said it would keep a close eye on locals and organisations funding the IRF and would be treated as “anti-social elements”.
However, the IRF said it would be arguing before a Central government tribunal against the validity of the ban imposed on it and invoking of the UAPA.