Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik charged with money laundering by ED

Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has been charged with money laundering by Enforcement Directorate.

Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, whose speeches were alleged to have inspired one the gunmen responsible for the Dhaka café attack that cost 22 lives, has been charged with money laundering by the Enforcement Directorate, according to the agency’s filing in a Mumbai court.

The ED, the central agency mandated to probe financial crimes, told the court that it had linked assets worth Rs 193 crore as proceeds of crime. The agency has already attached Rs 50.46 crore assets, the agency said in its second charge-sheet against the televangelist.

Indian agencies had woken up to the controversial preacher’s speeches after one of the gunmen who participated in the 2016 Bangladesh attack told investigators that he was inspired by Naik’s speeches on his private channel, Peace TV. The channel, which reportedly broadcast from Dubai, was founded by the televangelist in 2006.

As security agencies took a hard look at its speeches, it came up with multiple instances of what was subsequently described as hate speech. “Naik deliberately and maliciously insulted the religious beliefs of Hindus, Christians and non-Wahabi Muslims, particularly Shia, Sufi and Barelwis, with intention of outraging their religious feelings,” the anti-terror agency National Investigation Agency that probed him told a court earlier.