CONTROVERSIAL TELEVANGELIST Zakir Naik’s sister Nailah Noorani has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate to appear before it. On Wednesday, her counsel responded to the summons stating that she would appear before the agency next week. The central agency is probing an alleged money laundering case against Naik and his now outlawed outfit, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF).
According to sources, Naik had allegedly transferred around Rs 20 crore in the accounts held by his parents between 2012 and 2016. They had then collectively transferred over Rs 25 crore in two accounts held by Nailah. The sources said money was then transferred to the accounts of four companies — Longlast Constructions Pvt Ltd, Harmony Media Pvt Ltd, Majestic Perfumes Pvt Ltd and Alpha Lubricants Pvt Ltd. Nailah was the director with Longlast Constructions, which saw a surge in borrowing in the last couple of years but had not conducted any business, said the sources.
“While Harmony Media is a video and software production company that was incorporated in 2005 and saw a steady growth in revenue, the other three companies were not doing any business. We would like to probe Nailah on the funds received by her company and purpose for floating it,” explained an official.
The sources added that Aamir Abdul Mannan Gazdar, also a director with the same firm who was arrested by the ED last week, did not cooperate during interrogation. “Gazdar was quizzed on the same but has refused to come out clean on the investments. We suspect that he handled cash and real estate transaction to the tune of Rs 200 crore,” added the official.
While the ED has pegged Naik’s worth at over Rs 3,000 crore, they are currently concentrating on Rs 200 crore that was allegedly laundered by Naik through his relatives and close confidants.
On Wednesday, Naik’s alleged close confidant Aamir Gazdar was produced before the special PMLA court. The ED claimed that during his custody, two of his statements were recorded.
“In his statements, he gave the details of the amount of cash transactions handled by him at the instructions of Dr Zakir Naik…he gave details of his income which he has filed in his Income Tax returns. However, perusing the same reveals that there was wide variation in the disclosed income with the actual as the same was not supported with any documentation. It was also observed that he was filing IT returns in the name of his wife and children. However, he admitted that they didn’t have any source of income, which raise a suspicion that he was trying to layer the proceeds of crime into the system,” the ED submitted before court.
The ED, however, did not seek any further custody of Gazdar who has been sent to judicial custody till March 8. Further, Gazdar’s lawyer Taraq Sayed too filed an application before court seeking to retract statements made by him in ED’s custody claiming that they had been taken under coercion. The court has directed the ED to file its reply on the retraction.
The ED claims that Naik had given Rs 4 crore to the accused from his mother’s account, which was eventually credited in the bank account of Gazdar’s wife. The ED claims that Gazdar had remained silent on the reasons of the transfer of the amount. The agency told the court that though the annual income of Gazdar is around Rs 25-30 lakh, he had bought a high-end vehicle, claiming that it was from the amount transferred by Naik.
The agency claimed that when Gazdar was asked about the source of the funds, he said he had received some amount from his brother based in London as a gift and from others taken as a loan.
“It appears that there is an obvious attempt on part of the accused, is not only protecting himself but also providing cover to Dr Zakir Naik from lawful actions. As such, his purposeful silence in a conscious attempt to hoodwink the due process of law,” the ED remand states. Gazdar has not filed for bail so far.
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