Zakir Naik gave Rs. 148cr to aide for 'safekeeping'
Islamic preacher Zakir Naik's close business associate Aamir Abdul Mannan Gazdar told NIA that he was given Rs. 148.9cr in cash for safekeeping by Naik's manager Aslam Qureshi during August-October'16. Gazdar, recently arrested by ED for alleged money laundering, added it was later taken away in instalments. He claimed he would regularly sign blank cheques and I-T returns for Naik's firms upon his instructions.
Who is Zakir Naik?
50 year old Naik, a Mumbai based doctor and Islamic televangelist, is the founder of Islamic Research Foundation. A follower of the late South-Africa based preacher Ahmed Deedat, his speeches on Peace TV are popular in Bangladesh, India and China with a viewership of 100 million. He is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speeches and for peddling Salafist Islam.
What is Salafism?
Salafis are conservative fundamentalists who believe in the return to the original ways of Islam. It is taken from the word 'as-salafi as-saliheen', referring to 'the Pious Predecessors'. It encompasses a huge range of beliefs- from non violent religious devotion to Salafi Jihadism.
Mumbai Shias, Sunnis lodged a complaint against Naik in 2007
Naik has been unable to hold 'peace conferences' in Mumbai since 2011, owing to the protests held by the Muslim community. He had angered both the Muslim sects by praising Yazid, a despised historical Islamic figure whose army had massacred the Prophet's grandson, Imam Hussain in the Battle of Karbala. He also refused to dub Bin Laden a terrorist, leading to his UK ban.
Naik's aide arrested for recruiting for ISIS
Kerala police and Maharashtra ATS sleuths arrested Arshid Qureshi for allegedly recruiting youth from Kerala for ISIS. He was arrested from Navi Mumbai and is believed to be a member of Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation. IRF spokespersons refused to comment on the matter. Qureshi will now be interrogated by the Maharashtra ATS before being taken to Kerala for further investigations.
Government bans Zakir Naik's NGO for 5 years
The government has banned Zakir Naik's NGO Islamic Research Foundation for five years, terming it an unlawful organization; the ban will come into effect immediately. The ban was approved by the Union Cabinet under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, citing Naik's "objectionable and subversive" speeches. The ban will force closure of IRF's offices and interests across the country.
ED registers criminal case against Zakir Naik
The Enforcement Directorate has registered a criminal case against preacher Zakir Naik and his organization the Islamic Research Foundation under money laundering laws; the ED said they would look into allegation of illicit financial transactions in IRF. The NIA had also registered an FIR against Naik and IRF. Several raids have already been carried out on Naik's properties by the Mumbai police.
ED to revoke passport, seek interpol warrant against Zakir Naik
The Enforcement Directorate may look to revoke Zakir Naik's passport and urge Interpol to issue a Red Corner Notice against him. The ED will approach the Mumbai passport office for the same. Naik, who is in Saudi Arabia, may not be able to stay there if his passport is revoked. The government is tightening the noose around Naik by chargesheeting his accomplices as well.
Special court issues non-bailable warrant against Zakir Naik
A special court has taken cognizance of the charges framed against Zakir Naik by the NIA and has issued a non-bailable warrant against him. The court added that "there are reasonable grounds to believe that Dr Zakir Naik is evading arrest," hence an NBW needed to be issued. The NIA had earlier stated that Naik's NGO was promoting enemity between religious groups.