The summons was issued earlier this week under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned controversial televangelist Dr. Zakir Naik, asking him to appear for questioning by the end of this month. The summon is the first official communication by an investigative agency addressed directly to Naik and asking him to appear in person. The summons was issued earlier this week under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The move comes after the union government, in November, issued orders banning Naik and his organisation Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), of all activities. After the ban, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) sealed the IRF offices and also seized documents and other evidence. Naik and IRF were banned under provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Subsequently, ED registered a criminal case against Naik and IRF in December.
The summons states that Naik should appear before the agency by the end of January to record his statement. Sources in the ED revealed that the investigative agency is probing financial irregularities in the funds received by the IRF. “We will be going through the documents pertaining to financial transactions of the now banned organisation to check for flow of money," said an ED source. The source added that they would be investigating all the bank accounts of not just IRF but also of Naik, his wife and children.
Sources revealed that funds received by Naik were routed from Gulf countries and the beneficiaries are suspected to be of a dubious nature. Naik who recently penned an open letter to “fellow Indians” is said to be residing abroad. The ED had on January 3 had issued a summons against IRF. One of Naik’s legal counsels confirmed the same but denied the summons issued for Naik to appear personally.