Zakir Naik’s aide remanded in JC till March 8

Mumbai: The special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act cases here today remanded Aamir Gazdar, a close aide of the controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, in judicial custody till March 8.

The Enforcement Directorate, which arrested Gazdar on February 16, recommended his judicial custody today.

In the remand application, the ED said during the interrogation Gazdar gave details of the quantum of cash transactions handled by him at the instance of Naik, but did not give further information.

There was discrepancy between his actual income and disclosed income, the ED said. He filed IT returns in the name of his wife and three children, but admitted they did not have independent sources of income, which raised suspicion that he was laundering proceeds of crime, the anti-money laundering agency said.

Gazdar was claimed to have told ED that Naik gave him Rs four crore from his mother’s account which was credited to the account of Gazdar’s wife. Of this, Rs 2.4 crore was transferred to the account of his son, and later this sum was returned to Naik’s bank account, the agency said.

“However, Gazdar remained silent on being asked about the reasons for transferring such a huge amount to the account of his wife,” the agency said, claiming he was not only protecting himself but also shielding Naik.

He used high-end cars, and asked about the source of funds, he said they were bought with the money transferred by Naik, ED said.

In a related development Gazdar’s lawyer Mahesh Mule today filed an application claiming the ED recorded Gazdar’s statement under duress and that he wanted to retract it now.

The ED had registered a case against Naik last December under the PMLA. Naik, also facing a case under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, is said to be in Saudi Arabia.