A SPECIAL court has allowed the Enforcement Directorate custody of Aamir Gazdar, an alleged close associate of Islamic Research Foundation founder Dr Zakir Naik, till February 22. Gazdar, arrested on Thursday under charges of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, was produced before court on Friday evening.
The ED claimed that Gazdar was a “close confidante” of Naik and was involved in “all the illegalities” on his behest. The ED alleged Naik had established dummy firms in India and abroad to camouflage the diversion of funds received by him “through his illegal activities of provocative speeches”. The ED alleged Gazdar was a director in at least six such companies, four based in Mumbai and two in England.
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“…it appears that the modicum of M/s Harmony Media Pvt Ltd, Mumbai, has been used to produce videos of provocative speeches and the videos so produced are exported to Dubai for telecasting the same. The present accused is one of the directors of the said company (Harmony media),” the remand plea states.
The ED further claims that Gazdar in his statement told them details about his monetary transactions in the guise of providing loans to the company. The agency said Gazdar was in charge of accumulating the cash received by Naik and it wanted to look into the money trail. The ED says that witnesses have claimed Gazdar used to carry cash on Naik’s behalf and was also personally involved in its collection.
Special public prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar, appearing for the ED, said though two statements of Gazdar were recorded, he had denied any knowledge of the allegations made against him.
He also said that Gazdar had not provided any document of the financial activities of the companies in which he has been named as a director. Advocate Tariq Sayyed, appearing for Gazdar, told the court that since a separate probe is being carried out by the National Investigation Agency, the documents were in their custody. He also stated that since the allegations by the agency pertain to IRF and Naik, Gazdar’s custody is not required.
But The ED said that his custody was required to unearth the trail of funds, in revealing the role played by him, Naik and others to allegedly launder money, adding that it was “hard to believe” that Gazdar was not aware of Naik’s whereabouts.
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