Dr Zakir Naik's 'money manager' Gazdar arrested

Close confidante of Dr. Zakir Naik, Aamir Amir Abdul Mannan Gazdar, was also one of the trustees of Islamic Research Foundation

Dr Zakir Naik
Dr Zakir Naik

Investigation into the money laundering case against Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, is opening many a Pandora's box for the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

After grilling a close confidant of Naik, Aamir Amir Abdul Mannan Gazdar, who was one of the trustees of the former's Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), the ED arrested him on Thursday.

Sources in the Directorate confirmed that during investigation it was found that Gazdar was also Naik's 'money manager' in India. The ED plans to demand his custody when he would be produced in court on Friday.

According to sources, Naik and IRF received a total of `100 crore from overseas accounts. Of the amount, Rs 60 crore was transferred to India from Saudi Arabia, through Dubai.

The agency suspects that Naik has been operating a number of trusts and companies in India, which are directly related to the activities of IRF. While Gazdar was one of the directors of his companies, Naik's sister Nailah Naushad Noorani was another.

Gazdar's house at Underia Street in Chauki Mohalla, Nagpada, was one of the 12 places that National Investigation Agency (NIA) had raided on November 19 last year. The agency had seized a total of Rs 9.80 lakh in cash, gold jewellery and documents.

Sources in the Directorate said that IRF received huge funds as donations but donors were just mentioned as well wishers. They further added that there seems to be a multiple layer of funds linked with Naik, his relatives, companies and IRF.

Earlier, ED had summoned Naik for an inquiry, but there has been no response from him. If he doesn't reply to the summons notice, then further legal procedure would be initiated against him. This would include issuance of non-bailable warrant, lookout circular, letters rogatory with the court in the country where Naik is staying and attaching his properties as well.

More arrests likely to follow in the case

In November last year, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had booked Zakir Naik under section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of UAPA.

The ED's probe is aimed at finding out whether the suspects in the alleged offence are involved in money laundering. The Directorate had scrutinised several bank accounts linked to Naik's relatives, including his sister's. Sources said that more people might be arrested related to the case in the coming days.

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