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ED mulls invoking FEOA against Zakir Naik

The ED booked him in 2016 on an FIR filed by the NIA under UAPA

Thursday September 19, 2019 6:01 PM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

FEOA Against Zakir Naik

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is planning to invoke Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA) against Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is currently residing in Malaysia, official sources said on Thursday.

A highly placed ED source told IANS, "We are mulling the idea to invoke FEOA against Naik in the money launderting case being probed by us."

The ED booked him in 2016 on an FIR filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The preacher is wanted by authorities for alleged money laundering.

On Wednesday, a Special Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) court in Mumbai issued non-bailable warrant against Naik.

According to the ED officials, under the FEOA, any person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has left India to avoid criminal prosecution or is abroad or refuses to return to India will face criminal prosecution.

After the person is declared a 'fugitive economic offender', the prosecuting agency is vested with the power to confiscate all his assets and properties to recover the dues.

Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, the chairman of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, was declared the first person to be declared fugitive economic offender by the ED in January this year.

The ED has also moved the court to invoke the FEOA against fugitive diamond jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi of the Geetanjali group in a money laundering case involving Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case.

Naik, who used to preach on 'Peace TV', has been living in Malaysia for around 3 years. He was granted permanent residency in Malaysia following Britain and Canada's refusal to grant him visa.

The ED had filed charge-sheet against Naik in May this year. It identified the proceeds of crime was worth Rs 193.06 crore.

Through his Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and later through Peace TV, Naik created a wide follower base. He often propagated Islam through his speeches.

The ED has alleged that Naik's IRF had organised peace conferences in Mumbai between 2007 and 2011 in which he attempted to convert people. Naik had denied the charges in a statement issued in June this year.

The Interpol has in the past rejected the NIA's request on the ground that no charge-sheet was filed against Naik at the time of submission. The agency had termed it as a technical ground and that Interpol had not taken cognisance of it filing a charge-sheet against Naik and others before a Mumbai court in October 2017.

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