ED files charge sheet against Zakir Naik for laundering money into real estate

New Delhi (PTI) The ED Thursday filed its first direct charge sheet against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on charges of money laundering, officials said.

The agency filed the prosecution complaint under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) before a special court in Mumbai and said it has identified proceeds of crime worth Rs 193.06 crore and allegedly creating illegal real estate assets worth crores, in India and abroad.

This is the second charge sheet in the case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in this case, but the first against Naik underlining his role in the matter.

Naik was booked by the ED in 2016 based on a National Investigation Agency (NIA) FIR.

The agency alleged in the charge sheet that the money trail probe against Naik and his associates, found that the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), which is owned and promoted by Naik, ‘received an amount of Rs 64.86 crores, between 2003-04 to 2016-17, mostly from dubious or suspicious sources and a majority of the funds were utilised for organising peace conferences’. It added that Naik transferred funds from abroad to India and purchased properties in Pune and Mumbai, by ‘layering of funds’ and in the name of his close relatives. “Investigation has also revealed that Naik was also involved in suspicious unaccounted cash transactions,” it said.

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