NEW DELHI: An Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe said that Islamic preacher Zakir Naik received crores of dubious donations from several Middle East countries in his and his trusts’ bank accounts from anonymous “well-wishers.”
According to PTI, a leading news agency, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), Mumbai-based charity trust promoted and controlled by Zakir Abdul Karim Naik, the 53-year-old Islamic evangelist’s full name, “allegedly received funds in the form of donations and zakat (a form of alms giving in Islam) from domestic as well as overseas donors from countries like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Malaysia among others,” ED said.
The agency added that the total quantum of funds received by from 2003-04 to 2016-17 is to the tune of Rs.64.86 crore.
The bank accounts are held with Citi Bank, DCB Bank Ltd and Union Bank of India and donors used to deposit money in these bank accounts with their names in the receipts are mentioned as ‘well-wishers.’
“The donors remain unidentified as their names in the receipts are mentioned as ‘well-wishers’. As the donations are made by cash, only the names of the donors are mentioned on the receipts without disclosing their contact details, which raises suspicion of being bogus or sham entries,” the ED report said.
“Out of these funds, a majority of the funds were utilised for organising ‘peace conferences’, purchase of capital equipment, payment of salaries and other miscellaneous expenses. An annual event ‘Peace Conference’ was held by the IRF under the leadership of Naik,” the Enforcement Directorate said.
The investigation agency has said that the amount received from the unknown donors remains under suspicion.
In November 2016, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case against the televangelist, who is currently living in Malaysia, under the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. His Mumbai-based NGO Islamic Research Foundation has been declared an unlawful association.
The preacher came under the lens of security agencies after some terrorists, allegedly involved in the attack on a cafe in Dhaka in July 2016, reportedly claimed they were inspired by his speeches.