Mobin Solkar, the counsel for controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, on Saturday said the case filed by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) against his client under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) is illegal, as the Supreme Court, earlier granted a stay in a similar case, and hence, any fresh complaint on the same grounds would stand void.
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“Earlier in the year 2012 an FIR was registered by the office bearers of some organisation against Zakir Naik under section 153 A and in response we filed a petition in the Supreme Court and the court granted stay to all those proceedings in the FIR. So fresh FIR for the same offence is not maintainable in law so they cannot be two FIR for one offence,” Solkar told ANI.
Solankar further maintained that from 2012 till date, Dr. Naik has not given any lecture which can be a cause of action for filing a fresh FIR against him.
He, however, conceded that the investigative agency is entitled to search and visit the premises of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), owned by Naik, and the organisation would comply with all the investigative processes carried out by the NIA.
“The NIA, irrespective of the legality of the FIR, is empowered to investigate the matter and they are carrying out their investigation and we are ready to cooperate as far the investigation is concerned. IRF has been a law abiding trust and we are ready to fully cooperate with the investigative agency,” Solankar said.
Teams of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), along with the Mumbai Police, early Saturday morning, launched raids on 10 premises of Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) run by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. NIA spokesperson told ANI that the premises were raided at 6 a.m. with the help of local police.
“We are searching a few residential premises and a few office premises of Zakir Naik,” said the spokesperson.
The NIA had on Friday registered a case against Naik and others under sections 10 (Penalty for being member of an unlawful association) and 13 (Punishment for unlawful activities) and other various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), said a spokesperson.
The Union Government had on Tuesday declared the IRF as an “outlawed organisation” under the anti-terror law for its alleged terror activities, following which the Maharashtra Government said it would keep a close eye on locals and organisations funding the IRF and would be treated as “anti-social elements”.