Bombay HC refuses to grant relief to Zakir Naik

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today refused to grant relief to controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is facing charges of inciting communal disharmony and committing unlawful activities, observing that he did not show any interest or desire to help the probe agencies.

A division bench of justices R M Savant and Revati Mohite Dere was hearing a petition filed by Naik seeking a direction to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to submit reports on the probe carried out by them against Naik.

In the petition, Naik also sought direction to the Ministry of External Affairs to cancel the revocation of his passport.

The court said it cannot pass any order pertaining to revocation of passport and asked Naik to file a separate petition for the same.

“Regarding the other reliefs sought in the petition…we do not see how this court can consider them when the petitioner has not even presented himself before the probe agencies. The petitioner is ensconced in Malaysia and is seeking a direction to the agencies to submit probe reports,” the court said in its order.
The offences registered against Naik are under section 153 (a) of IPC for promoting enmity among different religions and under sections 10, 13 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for being a member of an unlawful association, abetting an unlawful activity and criminal conspiracy.

“These are serious offences in which a person faces maximum punishment up to life imprisonment. The petitioner has been declared a proclaimed offender and extradition proceedings have been initiated with the authorities in Malaysia. Under such circumstances, this court cannot grant any relief to the petitioner,” Justice Savant said.
The court added that Naik should have ideally come back to India and presented himself before the investigating agencies. “Such long distance thing will not work. In the absentia of the petitioner, how can we entertain such pleas,” it said.
Naik is facing a probe by the NIA and the ED after his sermons on his Peace TV were cited as a reason by Bangladesh for an attack in Dhaka in 2016, which left 22 people dead.
Naik’s NGO — Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) — has also been declared unlawful since 2016 and is being probed by the ED over allegations of money laundering to the tune of more than Rs 18 crore.

Zakir Naik, IRF indulging in unlawful activity: HC

The Delhi High Court today upheld the Centre’s decision to immediately ban Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), saying the organisation and its president and members were indulging in “unlawful activity”.

Turning down the foundation’s claim that the Centre has not given reasons for its order, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said that there is material to establish that the “immediate action appears to have been taken in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India and public order”.

“The activities which the petitioner organisation and its president and members are alleged to have indulged in, would clearly come within the purview of unlawful activity and since petitioner organisation and its members are alleged to have been indulging in the said activities it would come within the definition of unlawful association,” the court said.

Producing the contents of the order by which the ban was imposed on the IRF, the court noted that as per the notification the foundation, its members and particularly founder — Naik — was encouraging and aiding its followers to promote the feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious communities and groups.

“Thus, it cannot be held that the notification insofar as it relates to, the exercise of power under proviso to section 3(3) of the Act and the declaration of petitioner association to be an unlawful association with immediate effect, is an arbitrary and unreasonable exercise of power.

“Not only is the material available on the record of the Central Government but the reasons for exercise of the said power have been disclosed in the notification,” it said.

The IRF had moved the court challenging the November 17, 2016 notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) which had imposed an immediate ban on Naik’s organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Holding that Naik’s foundation’s plea against the Centre’s decision has “no merit”, the court said the decision of the government was “not arbitrary and illegal”.


Zakir Naik’s aide remanded in JC till March 8

Zakir Naik's aide remanded in JC till March 8
Zakir Naik’s aide remanded in JC till March 8

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.

( Source – PTI )

Centre defends decision to ban Zakir Naik’s IRF

Centre defends decision to ban Zakir Naik's IRF
Centre defends decision to ban Zakir Naik’s IRF

The Centre today defended in the Delhi High Court its decision to ban controversial Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) saying the order was made after “application of mind” as there was apprehension that youths could be “radicalised” to join terror groups.

The government told Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, who reserved the verdict on IRF’s plea challenging the order to immediately ban the organisation, that it has enough material in its possession to take action against IRF.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Centre, also produced before the court the files and materials available with the government on the basis of which the decision was made.

The ASG handed over these documents to the court and requested Justice Sachdeva to “have a look at the materials and notings on the basis of which such a decision was taken”.

IRF, in its plea, has challenged the November 17, 2016, notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) which had imposed an immediate ban on the organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

During the hearing today, senior advocate Dinesh Mathur, representing IRF, submitted that the MHA notification gives no reason and cites no material for taking such a step as was required by the law laid down by the Supreme Court.

IRF also said the immediate ban was imposed without giving it any show cause notice.

However, the Centre countered the submissions and said that the need for taking the urgent step was felt in view of the apprehension that Indian youths could be “radicalised” or “motivated” by the alleged statements and speeches made by IRF and its members, including its President Naik, to join terror groups like ISIS, which is a cause of global concern.

Opposing the maintainability of the petition, the ASG said the government did not want to wait for some “catastrophic” incident to happen before taking the decision.

Aggrieved by the Centre’s stand, IRF’s counsel said that whatever has been done by a person in his or her individual capacity does not mean that an organisation can be banned.

( Source – PTI )

Islamic speaker told to record statement

A public Islamic speaker has asked by the Bombay High Court to appear before the Vengurla police in Sindhudurg district and get his statement recorded in connection with a case registered there for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.

A division bench of Justices P V Hardas and Mridula Bhatkar was on May 10 hearing a petition filed by Zakir Naik, a self-proclaimed philosopher and public speaker on Islam and comparative religion, expressing apprehension of threat to his life in the event that he is taken to the police station.

Advocate Mubin Solkar, appearing for Zakir, argued that the petitioner apprehends danger to his life and a law and order situation if he is taken to the police station for recording of his statement.

Public prosecutor Revati Dere, however, told the court that whenever the accused is summoned to the police station, he arrives there wsith hundreds of his followers thus leading to a law and order situation.

The bench then directed Naik to go to the Vengurla police station accompanied with only three persons including his lawyer and get his statement recorded.

“The petitioner (Zakir Naik) shall co-operate with the police machinery in order to ensure that law and order is maintained,” the court said.

Several cases have been registered against Naik for making speeches that have allegedly hurt religious sentiments.

Zakir Naik is the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation, a non-profit organisation that owns the Peace TV channel based in Dubai.

The bench has posted the matter for further hearing on June 11