New Delhi: Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on Friday dismissed allegations that he was indulging in money laundering and asked why the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was “lying” that he had no sources of income when he was involved in various businesses.
“Why is ED lying? When everyone – including all the government agencies – know that I have multiple businesses and revenue streams and my earnings have always reflected in the tax returns I’ve filed, why is ED lying about it?,” said Naik in a statement issued in his defence.
Naik asked, “whether the pressure so huge” that the ED had to lie to achieve the goal set out by their political bosses?
“For once, can they start showing some spine and be truthful in treating my case?” Naik added.
“…..I am a full-time preacher and part-time businessman, just as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was. I don’t charge for my lectures nor do I earn from Peace TV. So I do need another revenue stream to survive, which I have. Implying that I could survive outside India without earning anything is not just illogical, it’s childish,” said Naik in a statement issued in his defence.
Naik claimed that “ED’s allegation that he had no earnings and yet moved Rs 49 crores to India is a lie”.
“I have filed my tax returns dutifully every year till 2016 and the ED has access to all my tax papers. The papers clearly show that I have multiple businesses and revenue streams. I am an NRI since 2010, living and earning outside India for nine years now.
” I earn over a crore a month, and I send money back to India as and when required. I sent it from my Dubai account to my India account, and every penny is then accounted for in my tax returns, the papers for which are with the Indian agencies,” read his statement.
“Between 2010 and 2016 – in the six-year period – I must have sent 49 crores to India. How is sending 65 lakhs per month a problem? For a country that receives more than Rs 6,000 crores every month from UAE based Indians, how is my Rs 65 lakhs a problem?” he asked.
“By law, I am not supposed to explain my overseas job or business to anyone in India, till the time I’m using legitimate channels and account for every penny I send to India. So it is totally puzzling when the ED says I have not been earning anything. How on earth can they even think that? From where does ED get these ideas? Of course, I earn. I have had multiple businesses – legitimate businesses – including real estate….” read his statement.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had filed a prosecution complaint against Zakir Naik and others on money laundering charges.
A total amount of Rs 193.06 crore has been identified as “proceeds of crime.” The ED had registered a money laundering case against Naik and others on December 22, 2016.
The directorate has also attached properties of Naik worth Rs 50.46 crore. The ED had in March arrested Zakir Naik’s trusted aide Abdul Kadir Najmudin Sathak for allegedly “actively assisting” him in money laundering.
According to the agency, the money laundering was conducted via “dubious” origins from UAE to facilitate production and broadcasting incriminating videos for spreading communal hatred and radicalisation of a particular community.