August 17, 2016 1:20:57 am
THE ECONOMIC Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police has written to the state charity commissioner, the registrar of companies (RoC) and the income tax department (I-T) seeking details on various trusts, companies and their bank account details held by televangelist Dr Zakir Naik and his family members.
The communications to these organisations is in connection with a preliminary enquiry (PE) being carried out by the specialised wing of the Mumbai Police.
During the course of the PE, deposits ranging between Rs 50 crore and Rs 60 crore from Middle East countries into the account of a relative of Naik have allegedly come under the scanner of the Mumbai Police.
According to police sources, the funds were subsequently transferred to accounts operated by Naik’s wife, children and other relatives. Top Mumbai Police sources also told The Indian Express that investigators were looking at four alleged shell companies controlled by Naik and his family.
“Two trusts — Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and IRF Educational Trust — were founded by Zakir Naik. We have sought details from the charity commissioner on the same. We want to know the various grants received by these institutes, their sources and the usage of the same,” a senior official privy to the development of the case told The Indian Express.
According to sources, the reason behind approaching the RoC is to get the details on four companies on whose boards Naik’s wife and children are shown as directors. “We are collecting information on these companies through various sources. Once we are through with this, we will summon those who are shown as signatories of the company as declared to the RoC and record their statement on why the company was formed, what businesses were undertaken and what transactions were made,” the officer added.
The letter written to the I-T department seeks details on tax returns filed by Naik and his family members and also by the various institutes and companies held by them. The agency has also sought details on various remittances made and whether proper permissions were taken for these remittances.
The agency is expecting to get information on the same within a fortnight. “We will investigate each transaction and seek detailed statements from the bank. We will first record the statements of bankers and others, and then of Naik’s family once preliminary investigations are complete,” the officer explained.
According to sources, the EOW has come across one local bank account in which Rs 50-60 crore has been transferred from Middle-Eastern countries. This account belongs to a relative of Naik. On further investigation, the agency found out that funds were then allegedly transferred to the accounts of Naik’s wife, his children and some of his close relatives.
On August 8, the Mumbai Police submitted a report prepared by its intelligence wing, the Special Branch, to the state home department. The report indicted Naik for alleged “pro-terror” speeches and “influencing vulnerable minds” to join terror organisations.
The report also made a mention of the IRF’s finances and opined that Central and state agencies could probe further. An inquiry into Naik’s speeches and the IRF was ordered by the Maharashtra government after reports surfaced that two terrorists in the July 2016 Dhaka attack were allegedly inspired by Naik’s speeches.
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