The agency can request its Malaysian counterparts to represent its case in the suit.
Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is considering legal options of becoming a party in a case in a Malaysian court that is hearing a suit filed by local citizens demanding the deportation of controversial preacher Zakir Naik. The ED is probing Naik for money laundering, and a chargesheet has been submitted against him and his aides. According to sources, the ED can request its Malaysian counterparts to represent its case in the suit to ensure Naik is brought to the country to face the probe.
Naik, who allegedly did not respond to four ED summons served to him, has a permanent resident (PR) visa for Malaysia and was allegedly last seen in Malaysia. “There are inputs according to which Naik was in Malaysia in April this year to have discussions with a few intellectuals of that country. The ED is exploring legal avenues to become a party in the proceedings related to a suit in a Malaysia court asking for his deportation,” said an ED official. The suit was filed in a Kuala Lumpur court in March by local human rights activists seeking a government declaration that Naik was allegedly a threat to Malaysia’s security.
According to inputs, Naik has been allegedly shifting his locations from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia to United Arab Emirates in order to avoid getting into legal tangles that would lead to his deportation to India. When contacted by The Asian Age, Mr Naik’s Mumbai-based lawyer Amin Solkar said, “I don’t know if he (Mr Zakir Naik) is in Malaysia. If the ED or any other agency serves summons to him as per law, we can think about what steps can be taken.” He said, “If they think he is abroad, the correct way to serve the summons to him will be through his email address. I don’t know if this is being done.”
Naik’s media advisor Aarif Malik said, “I am not in a position to answer questions pertaining to Mr Naik as I have not been in close touch with him.”
The ED had in April filed a chargesheet against Amir Gazdar, a close aide of Naik, in connection with the money laundering case.
ED officials said the first summons was sent to his Mumbai-based residence and later on three more such notices were mailed on his personal email address asking him to present himself for questioning in the money-laundering case.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had also last week filed a chargesheet against Naik for allegedly inciting terror and hate speech at a special court in Mumbai.