New Delhi, January 19
Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik is likely to be questioned by National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is scanning his 78 bank accounts, and real estate investments worth at least Rs100 crore in and around Mumbai by him and his associates.
The probe agency, which had in November last year registered a case against Naik and others under anti-terror law for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, has found role of 23 entities including individuals and corporates linked to the preacher, NIA sources said on Thursday.
The NIA has questioned around 20 associates of Naik, including his sister Nailah Naushad Noorani, in connection with its investigation, they said. “We have sought certain documents including income tax returns and others. Besides this, 78 bank accounts in different banks of the country, are also being scanned. Once examination is done, we intend to summon Zakir Naik for questioning,” person aware of the news said.
The sources said that the agency has written to the banks seeking details of these accounts including transactions. At least Rs100 crore have been allegedly invested in real estate by Naik and his associates in and around Mumbai. The NIA officials have found complicated movement of money in the financial transactions made by people involved in the case, they said, adding that the role of Mumbai-based Harmony Media Pvt Ltd—involved in production of religious and educative videos—is being looked into in this case.
Naik’s Non-Government Organisation (NGO),Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), has been banned by the central government under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The speeches of Naik, who is currently out of the country apparently to evade arrest, are banned in the UK, Canada and in Malaysia. The home ministry has found that the NGO was allegedly having dubious links with Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, accused of propagating terrorism. According to the home ministry, Naik, who heads the IRF, has allegedly made many provocative speeches and engaged in terror propaganda.
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