A special court in Mumbai on Wednesday its order reserved till Thursday its order on Enforcement Directorate’s plea seeking a non-bailable warrant against Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.
The central agency said it had sent summons four times since January to Naik, who is at present in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but he didn’t appear before it.
The ED registered a criminal case for money laundering against Naik and others last December after taking cognisance of a complaint registered against him by the National Investigation Agency under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Hiten Venegaonkar, ED’s lawyer, said Naik laid down conditions for appearance and tried to dictate terms to the agency. He demanded time, and once asked the agency to record his statement through a video link, the lawyer claimed.
Under section 15 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), a person against whom summons is issued has to appear before the agency in person to record his or her statement, Venegaonkar said.
The ED lawyer also produced an email sent by Naik.
“I have done nothing ever that is outside the framework
of law or contrary to what the law of land stipulates. As currently I am not in the country it is taking a substantial effort on the part of my people to collate all the related data to be given to you,” Naik said in the email.
India has an extradition treaty with UAE where Naik is residing, and court has the power to issue an NBW against him under PMLA, the ED lawyer said.
The agency also produced statements of Aamir Gazdar, arrested employee of Naik’s institute, Islamic Research Foundation, and Naik’s sister to support the claim that he was involved in laundering money in the name of running a charitable organisation.