THE ENFORCEMENT Directorate (ED) on Tuesday recorded the statement of Nailah Noorani in connection with the money laundering case registered by the central agency against her brother, Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. This is the first time that the central agency has questioned a blood relative of Naik in connection with the alleged multi-crore money laundering case.
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According to sources, Noorani reached ED’s Mumbai office around 3 pm on Tuesday and was quizzed for over five hours. Noorani is the director of the now-outlawed Islamic Research Foundation or IRF and also two of the alleged sham companies floated by Naik to launder donations received by him from foreign contributors into shell companies formed mainly to buy real estate in Mumbai and Pune.
According to sources, Noorani received Rs 25 crore from her parents in her accounts held with UBI and Development Credit Bank – Rs 50,000 each was deposited in Majestic Perfumes Pvt Ltd and Alpha Lubricants Pvt Ltd; Rs 11.57 crore in Longlast Construction Pvt Ltd, Rs 9.30 crore in Harmony Media Pvt Ltd. Sometime between 2009 and 2010, over Rs 6 crore was transferred from IRF account to Longlast Construction Pvt Ltd, one of the six alleged shell companies floated by Naik. In the same period, Longlast Construction, in which Naik was a director till March 2013, bought a land parcel in Byculla in South Mumbai. This land was bought to build the Islamic International School, Mumbai branch, which is operating from a rented premises.
“The probe is concentrating on ascertaining the flow of the money. Noorani was quizzed on the same but she maintained that she wasn’t privy to the investments made by the company and claimed that the account books of these companies were self explanatory,” added the official. “If required we would summon her again,” the official added.
Sources privy to the developments disclosed that after Naik stepped down as the director, his sister Noorani and his close aide Abdul Amir Gazdar became directors of Longlast Constructions. Gazdar, a marble trader by profession, was arrested last month by the ED for allegedly handling Gazdar’s cash and real estate transaction worth Rs 200 crore.
The ED registered a money laundering case against Naik and the IRF in December last year under Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) has been filed following the FIR registered under certain sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).