Zakir Naik Won't Come Now, Says Ready For Video Conference

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Zakir Naik Won't Come Now, Says Ready For Video Conference

Zakir Naik tells investigators he is ready to give statement via video conferencing, not in person.


New Delhi:  Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has told the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to record his statement in the money laundering case against him via video conferencing, asserting that he faced a hostile atmosphere in India that would make a fair probe impossible.

Naik founded Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) that was last November barred from receiving foreign funds and outlawed under India's anti-terror law for five years.

Last week, the ED had arrested Naik's aide Aamir Gazdar after he allegedly did not cooperate with officials probing allegations that IRF funds were laundered and diverted to Peace TV that  telecasts Naik's statement that promote enmity and hatred between religious groups,

Naik had been told to appear before officials of the directorate - the lead agency mandated to probe money laundering - on February 9. But in his response filed through his lawyer, Naik claimed that he faces an extremely hostile atmosphere in India and asked the ED for a few months' time to return to the country.

"My client is willing and ready to give any statement before you via Skype or any other mode of electronic media to assist you in your investigation," Naik's letter said.

Naik has also asked investigators to wait for the order of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) tribunal headed by a high court judge which was hearing his plea against the IRF's ban under the anti-terror law.

Security agencies had started the crackdown on Naik, 51, and his organisations after reports that the terrorists involved in the Dhaka cafe attack last July were inspired by his speeches. Bangladesh too had banned Peace TV in the country soon after.

Naik has been based in Saudi Arabia and put off travel plans to visit India fearing arrest by security agencies after the Dhaka attack that left 29 people dead.

(With inputs from PTI)


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