NIA issues fresh summons to Zakir Naik

New Delhi: Armed with confessional statements of some of the witnesses, the NIA today issued a second notice to controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik asking him to appear before it on March 30 in a case filed against him under an anti-terror law.

An NIA spokesman said that nearly 60 persons had been examined by the probe agency so far which included some of family members of Naik, some of his business associates, some employees and staff of the Islamic Research Foundation as well as Harmony Media Private Limited, founded by the controversial preacher.

“Some of the witnesses have given statements before the Magistrate, wherein they have stated as to how Dr Zakir Naik had promoted enmity and hatred among the people of different religious beliefs, through his public utterances, and how he had hurt the religious sentiments of followers of other sects or religions,” the spokesman said.

He alleged that the probe also shows that Naik has procured a number of properties in and around Mumbai in the name of his family members, relatives and the companies set up by him.

“Naik has transferred huge amount of money from his foreign bank accounts to his bank accounts in India in last few years. However, the source of this foreign income is yet to be identified,” the spokesman said, adding that the controversial preacher had earlier been asked to join the probe on March 14, but he did not turn up.

“When no response was received from his end, the second notice was issued to him for joining the investigation on March 30. So far, Naik has not responded to the notices issued by the NIA,” the spokesman said.

The notice has been sent to the Mumbai residence of 51-year-old Naik, who is believed to be staying in Saudi Arabia to evade arrest after his activities came under scanner following accusations that he had inspired some of the terrorists who attacked a cafe in Dhaka last year.

An FIR against Naik and his associates was registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in November last year.

The physician-turned-preacher has been booked for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony. Sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) have also been slapped on him.

The Centre had declared Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), an NGO based at Dongri in south Mumbai, an unlawful organisation under the UAPA.

The Delhi High Court had recently upheld the decision to immediately ban IRF saying the organisation and its president and members were indulging in “unlawful activity”.

Besides the IRF, Naik is also founding trustee of the IRF Educational Trust and the Islamic Dimensions Trust.

The speeches of Naik are banned in the UK, Canada and Malaysia.

Naik has rejected all allegations of involvement in terror-related activities and opposed the ban on the IRF.