NIA files chargesheet against Zakir for hate speeches, inciting violence
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a 50-page chargesheet in a special court in Mumbai against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for inciting youth to engage in terror activities, giving hate speeches, promoting enmity between communities and diverting money for anti-India activity. NIA has also declared the Salafist preacher an "absconder." Who is Zakir Naik? How did NIA corner him? Read on!
Who is Zakir Naik?
Naik, a Mumbai-based doctor-cum-televangelist, is late South-African based preacher Ahmed Deedat's follower. His speeches on Peace TV are popular in Bangladesh, India and China but are banned in UK and Canada as they peddle Salafist-Islam. He came under NIA's radar after terrorists involved in the Dhaka cafe attack alleged that they were inspired by his speeches. Subsequently, he fled from India on 1 July'16.
How did NIA corner Naik?
NIA has been systematically cracking down on Zakir. On November 18, 2016, NIA registered a case against Naik under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. After a year-long probe, NIA gathered evidence on his Mumbai-based NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), which is now banned by the home ministry, and Peace TV channel, which the central government pulled down.
What action has been taken against Naik?
Earlier this year, at the NIA's request, Zakir's passport was revoked by the external affairs ministry. He was issued notices under Code of Criminal Procedure Section 160 to join the investigation. However, Naik, believed to have acquired Saudi Arabia's citizenship, didn't appear before the authorities.
What does the NIA chargesheet say?
The NIA chargesheet includes 85 incriminating statements that NIA's sleuths recorded during the investigation. It also includes statements by Naik's sister Nailah Noorani and close aide Amir Gazdar, who is allegedly accused of money laundering by the Enforcement Directorate. The chargesheet also names Naik's two firms Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and Harmony Media Private Ltd. Naik is accused of creating "serious law-and-order situations."