Naik’s aide nabbed in connection to money laundering case

Controversial Indian preacher Zakir Naik, whose aide has been arrested in connection to accusations of money laundering in India. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Authorities in India arrested a “trusted aide” to Zakir Naik on Friday in connection to the money laundering case against the controversial preacher, The Times of India reported.

Jeweller Abdul Kadir Najmudin Sathak was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) – which deals with economic crime in India – on accusations of “actively assisting Naik and aiding him in money laundering funds of dubious origins from the UAE”.

The ED said the funds were meant to facilitate the production and broadcasting of “incriminating videos for spreading communal hatred and radicalisation of a particular community”.

“The agency will soon file a fresh charge sheet in this case based on fresh evidence, they said,” the report added.

Kadir is alleged to have directly sent about Rs 50 crore funds to Naik, which the preacher “illegally routed and laundered”.

Kadir, the Times of India reported, was also the director of M/s Global Broadcasting Corporation FZE LLC which owned Naik’s Peace TV channel.

“An amount of Rs 79 crore was received from GBC to Ms Harmony Media Pvt Ltd. But for these monies, it would not have been possible to produce these controversial speeches of Naik and reach a wider audience through Peace TV,” the daily quoted the ED as claiming, adding that the source of funds remitted by GBC to Harmony Media was “suspicious”.

Naik, who was close to leaders of the previous government and was granted Malaysian permanent resident status, is accused of giving provocative speeches, which were cited as a reason by Bangladesh for an attack in Dhaka in 2016 which left 22 people dead.

India’s National Investigation Agency is also investigating Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation over allegations of money laundering.

The 53-year-old televangelist has denied the charges, saying he is a victim of the Indian media whom he accuses of sensationalising the issue in their quest to get a bigger audience. He has also fought off attempts to have him deported.