KUALA LUMPUR: India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed an application in a special court in Mumbai for permission to attach five properties belonging to controversial preacher Zakir Naik.
The Indian Express reported that the attachments of the five apartments was aimed at getting Naik, who has absconded, to attend court. Naik has filed a challenge to this application.
One of the five properties belongs to Naik while four others are co-owned by him. The properties are two apartments in Maria Heights, two in Jasmine Apartments and one in Crystal Residency, all in Mazgaon, South Mumbai.
The Indian Express quoted an NIA official as saying that since Naik had fled the country and had been declared a “proclaimed offender”, the attachment was aimed at seeking his presence before the court.
A charge was filed against Naik, his trust the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), and Harmony Media Private Limited, a company linked to him, on October 26.
The NIA charged Naik with criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity, and being a member of an unlawful association.
Naik, who was given permanent resident status by the Malaysian government five years ago, is often in and out of Malaysia. The report said he was believed to be currently in Saudi Arabia.
Naik has consistently maintained his innocence.
The NIA also said it was investigating the sources of wealth of Naik, including a “huge quantity” of cash generated by entities and individuals connected to him. This includes 19 immovable properties worth Rs 104 crores (RM68 million).
The Indian Express reported that Naik, through his advocate Amin Solkar, had filed a reply to the NIA’s application stating that the plea was “misconceived, premature” and thus not maintainable.
It further said that the NIA had not complied with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, and claimed that the proclamation order passed in June by the court was “null and void”.
“The accused prays that the Proclamation Order dated June 15, 2017, be declared illegal and hence as a consequence, therefore, the above application for attachment also fails and is not maintainable,” Naik’s reply states.