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Zakir Naik charged with money laundering by ED, assets worth Rs 193 crore identified as proceeds of crime

FE Online
Last week, Naik called Interpol's issuance of red corner notice against him a political witch- hunt. (ANI Image/ File)

Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, whose speeches telecast on his channels are believed to have inspired at least one of the attackers involved in the ghastly Sri Lanka bombings, has been booked for money laundering by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday. The ED today lodged its first direct charge sheet against Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. The agency also registered a prosecution complaint against Naik and several others. It also identified an amount of Rs 193.06 crore as proceeds of crime and attached properties worth Rs 50.46 crore. This is the second charge sheet in the money laundering case by the Enforcement Directorate.

On Wednesday, Sri Lanka’s two major cable TV operators ‘Dialogue’ and ‘SLT’ have stopped airing controversial Indian Islamic preacher’s Peace TV on their channel. The move comes following the recent terror attacks on Easter Sunday where more than 250 people were killed and over 500 injured. Though, the Islamic State militants had claimed responsibility for the attack. Last week, Naik called Interpol’s issuance of red corner notice against him a political witch- hunt.

‘Peace TV’ was launched by Mumbai- based Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) in 2006. The channel’s contents are in English, Urdu, and Bangla and are being telecast from Dubai. Following the 2016 Dhaka cafe terror attack, Bangladesh has also suspended airing of ‘Peace TV’in the country. The attack had left 22 people dead.

Earlier on December 22, 2016, the central investigative agency had filed a money laundering case against Naik and others. Naik is wanted in India as several cases of IPC (Indian Penal Code) and UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) under terror, money laundering and allegedly provoking youths for terror activities are under investigation. The Islamic preacher has left the country in July 2016. The 52-year-old Islamic preacher currently holds citizenship of Malaysia.

Addressing an election rally at Madhya Pradesh’s Itarsi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the Congress party for projecting the controversial Islamic preacher as an ambassador of peace. PM Modi further said that earlier the government at the Centre used to invite Naik to address police officers on terrorism.