The Enforcement Directorate has seized assets worth Rs 16.40 crore in connection with its money-laundering probe against controversial preacher Zakir Naik. In a statement today, the probe agency said it had issued a provisional order for seizing assets registered in the name family members in Mumbai and Pune, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
"In order to disguise the origin of funds and real ownership of the properties, the initial payments made from Naik's bank account were refunded and diverted to the accounts of his wife, son and niece and re-routed again for the purpose of making bookings in the name of the family members rather than Naik," it said.
This is the third such seizure by the probe agency in the case and with the latest order, the total value of assets taken by the agency stands at Rs 50.49 crore.
The ED, which functions under the Union finance ministry, is looking into the charges of laundering of illegal funds in the case and the subsequent proceeds of crime thus generated.
The seizure of assets action under the PMLA is aimed to deprive the accused from taking benefits of his wealth and this is confirmed after an order is passed by the Adjudicating Authority of the PMLA within 180 days.
The probe agency said investigation against Zakir Naik, said to be based in Malaysia at present, is continuing.