The special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court has passed an order and issued an open ended non-bailable warrant (NBW) against evangelist Zakir Naik under section 59(1)(b) of PMLA 2002 and under section 70, 78, 79 and 105 of CrPC, for his non-cooperation with the Enforcement Directorate in the investigation of a money laundering case against him and his NGO IRF.
While citing reasons to issue a NBW against Naik, the ED informed the court that Naik had been summoned to appear before the agency four times in the past three months.
Application filed by ED said, "The accused is not cooperating with the investigation and is evading service of summons upon him. His absence is unnecessarily delaying the proceedings."
The ED fears that there is a reasonable apprehension that the accused may be tampering with the crucial evidence in and outside India. Thus, Naik's custodial interrogation is of utmost necessity to ascertain the trail of the proceeds of crime, ED told the Court.
PASSPORT TO BE REVOKED
The next step soon after getting the order copy of non-bailable warrant against Naik, the agency would initiate the process of revoking Naik's passport. Sources told India Today that, the next action would be to request the regional passport office (RPO) in Mumbai to revoke the passport of Naik, at the earliest.
During the process, the RPO would issue a show-cause notice to Naik, seeking reasons why his passport should not be revoked. In 2010, on the request of ED, the RPO, Mumbai had revoked former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi's passport for alleged misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 470 crore by him.
Once it happens, Naik's stay in the Saudi Arabia would become illegal, as he entered that country as an Indian national. The investigative agency is quite confident that India and UAE government has signed a treaty where Dubai would not hesitate to deport "an accused of money laundering" back to India, if crucial details and evidences are shared through proper diplomatic channel.
According to ED, during the investigations, it was revealed that Naik has got several interests in foreign countries, especially Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has acquired several properties.
"Prime facia, it appears that these properties have been acquired from the proceeds of crime involved in the present offence and there is possibility that Naik may alienate and or dispose of the same, obstructing the investigation," the ED application stated.
RED CORNER NOTICE
Sources told India Today that the agency could also go ahead and request the Interpol to issue a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against Zakir Naik.
"Cancellation of Passport, Red Corner Notice, attachments of Naik's personal and commercial assets in India and abroad is our next plan of action. As it is unlikely now that Zakir Naik would return to India and face the investigation, therefore, all these action plans would get implemented in the coming months," the source said.
The agency has recorded the statements of Naik's siblings, his sister Nailah Noorani and brother Mohammad Abdul Karim Naik, and the copies were submitted before the Court. However, both had denied their role in the financial dealings and shifted the entire blame on Zakir Naik, making him responsible for handling the proceeds of crime.