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Friday, June 9, 2017

India to revoke Zakir Naik’s passport, says report

Highly-placed sources tell Indian daily that controversial preacher is 'most probably in Malaysia and seeking Malaysian citizenship'.

PETALING JAYA: Indian officials are ready to revoke Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s passport, The Indian Express reported yesterday.
The move by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against the founder of the now-banned Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), follows his status as a fugitive having not returned to India despite being called to assist in investigations over alleged links to acts of terrorism and money laundering allegations.
According to highly-placed sources who spoke to the daily, the controversial preacher is “most probably in Malaysia and seeking Malaysian citizenship”.
The latest move by the NIA also comes just weeks after it approached Interpol to issue a red corner notice (RCN) against Naik.
The request for the red notice in May came after NIA had issued a non-bailable warrant arrest on April 20, because it had reasonable grounds to believe that Naik was evading an earlier arrest warrant seeking him to come in for questioning over a money laundering investigation.
It was previously reported that Interpol had been approached after a 10-month long investigation where all charges against him had been substantiated.
On Nov 18, 2016, the NIA, on the orders of India’s Ministry of Home Affairs, registered a criminal case against Naik at its Mumbai branch under Sections 153A of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 10, 13 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
According to the Indian Express, NIA has since questioned Naik’s sister, Nailah Noorani, and an aide, Aamir Abdul Mannan Gazdar, over the “web of financial transactions that included at least 10 companies and 19 properties in Mumbai and Pune in which Naik has invested an estimated Rs104 crore (RM70 million)”.
Naik was also accused of spreading hatred by his provocative speeches, of funding terrorists and laundering several crores of money over the years. Aside from the IRF, his Peace TV broadcasts have also been banned by the Indian government.
Meanwhile, sources told the daily that Naik’s passport was renewed, with a 10-year validity period, on Jan 20 last year, in Mumbai.
Indian immigration records also show that Naik left India on May 13 last year, and has not returned since.
Aside from the money laundering probe, NIA is also investigating claims that a man named Abu Anas, who was charged in a case referred to as the “Islamic State (IS) conspiracy case” in 2015, had received a scholarship from Naik’s IRF for three consecutive years from 2013 to 2015.
According to the daily, the man had been alleged to be part of a conspiracy linked to an IS-affiliated group, Junood-ul-Khalifa-fil-Hind.
The charge against Abu Anas revealed that members of the said group conducted a number of meetings in different parts of the country “to recruit Muslim youths to work for IS and to identify places for training and finally commit terrorist strikes at various public places and vital installations in India”.
NIA found that the “the total amount of scholarships provided to Abu Anas by IRF was about Rs1.5 lakh (RM10,000)”.
Naik had reportedly been granted citizenship by the Saudi Arabian government last month in order to prevent him from being arrested under the red notice issued by Interpol.
Meanwhile, on April 18, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi revealed that Naik had been given permanent residency status in Malaysia more than five years ago. -FMT

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