Zakir Naik case: NIA attaches five properties of absconding Islamic preacher

New Delhi: In a crackdown against controversial TV evangelist Dr Zakir Naik, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has attached his five properties. The move by central agency came after a special NIA court in Mumbai ordered attachment of the said properties in Mumbai, belonging to absconding Islamic preacher – who is booked under anti-terror law.

Charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) two years ago, Naik was declared a proclaimed offender by the court in June 2017.

Following the same, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had attached five flats located in Mazagon area in Mumbai belonging to the 52-year-old televangelist.

The court accepted the NIA’s plea to attach his Mazgaon area properties after the central agency submitted that Naik, staying overseas, was trying to sell these properties since his funding from various sources has been stopped after the central agency filed a case against him.

According to sources, Naik has multi-crore empire through real estate – which consists of at least 37 properties, mostly in Maharashtra towns. Of these, 25 are flats in Mumbai alone. Naik and IRF also have properties in Pune and Solapur. The total worth of Naik’s real-estate would run over Rs 110 crore.

The agency also recovered Naik’s propaganda material contained in 14,000 tapes which amount to around 5,000 terabytes (TB) of data.

The agency gathered details of these properties during its scrutiny of records of Naik and his outfit, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), which has been banned for five years following a government notification declaring it to be an ‘unlawful association’ under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Advocate Anand Sukhdev, who appeared for the NIA, told the court that Naik was trying to obtain citizenship in several foreign nations and therefore, was trying to raise money for the same by selling these Mazgaon properties.

In November 2016, the central government had declared Naik’s Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation as an “unlawful” association under the UAPA.

After a ban on the foundation, the NIA registered a case against Naik and the IRF on charges of inciting Muslim youth to indulge in violence and promoting enmity between groups on the basis of religion and race. The agency also charged Naik with indulging in activities that are prejudicial to national integration.