The Enforcement Directorate has registered a criminal case against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik and his organisation IRF under money laundering laws.
Officials said the agency’s zonal office in Mumbai has registered an FIR, called Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) in ED’s parlance, against Naik and others after taking cognisance of a similar complaint booked by the NIA under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against them.
The ED, they said, will specifically look into the charges of alleged illegal funds laundered by the accused and the proceeds of crime in its probe.
The agency has already scanned some banking transaction documents and other details against Naik and IRF and is soon expected to issue summons to take the probe forward.
The National Investigation Agency had last month registered a case against 51-year-old Naik under anti-terror laws for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and race.
After registering the case against Naik, IRF and others, NIA along with Mumbai police had carried out searches at 10 places in the megapolis, including residential premises of some of the office bearers of the foundation, which was earlier put on restricted list by the Union Home Ministry for receiving funds from abroad.
Naik, who has been staying in Saudi Arabia to evade arrest after his name surfaced during a probe into the Bangladesh terror strike earlier this year, has been booked along with unnamed IRF officials under section 153-A of IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) beside various sections of UAPA.
The charges, in the FIR registered by the NIA’s branch in Mumbai, were also slapped under sections 10 (being member of an unlawful organisation), 13 (punishment for being member of illegal organisation) and 18 of UAPA (punishment for being involved in a conspiracy for committing any terror act).
IRF came under the scanner of security agencies after one of the terrorists involved in the Dhaka cafe attack had allegedly posted on social media that they had been inspired by Naik’s speeches.
Some of the youths from Mumbai suburbs, who had left their home to join Islamic State earlier this year, were also allegedly inspired by the preacher. Naik’s speeches are banned in the UK, Canada and Malaysia.
The Home Ministry has alleged that the NGO had “dubious” links to Peace TV, an international Islamic channel, accused of propagating terrorism.
According to the Home Ministry, Naik, who heads the IRF, had allegedly made many provocative speeches and engaged in terror propaganda.
Maharashtra Police has also registered criminal cases against Naik for his alleged involvement in radicalising Muslim youth and luring them into terror activities. Naik was alleged to have transferred IRF’s funds received from abroad to Peace TV for making “objectionable” programmes.