Zakir Naik’s aide remanded in Enforcement Directorate custody till February 22

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Mumbai | Published: February 17, 2017 11:52:14 PM

A special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act cases here today remanded Aamir Gazdar, a close aide of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, in the custody of Enforcement Directorate.

zakir-naik-l-ptiThe ED, while seeking the custody, said Naik completely controlled his (now banned) NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), and various other trusts he set up. (PTI)

A special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act cases here today remanded Aamir Gazdar, a close aide of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, in the custody of Enforcement Directorate.”Enforcement Directorate custody granted till February 22,” said the judge P R Bhavke.

The ED, while seeking the custody, said Naik completely controlled his (now banned) NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), and various other trusts he set up.

“Apart from IRF, Naik was also running various trusts in India as well as abroad, and he was in complete control over such instrumentalities which are being run by him in close cahoots with his confidante trustees Mohammed Naik (his brother) and Gazdar,” the ED’s remand application said.

The agency also said that Naik established certain dummy companies in India and abroad and they were used to camouflage the diversion of funds received by him through illegal activities like giving provocative speeches.

Among the several entities established by Naik for this purpose, Gazdar was director in at least six companies — Universal Broadcasting Corporation, Lords Production (both in UK), Harmony Media, Longlast Constructions, Majestic Perfumes and Alpha Lubricants (all in Mumbai).

Harmony Media was used to produce videos of provocative speeches and these videos were exported to Dubai for telecasting, the ED said.

Gazdar had marble business with a turnover of Rs 30 lakh per annum, it said. The ED arrested Gazdar (48) here yesterday for alleged money laundering. ED officials said they suspected that Gazdar handled funds and transactions worth Rs 200 crore on behalf of Naik and his NGO.

During the probe earlier, Gazdar “gave details about his monetary transactions in the guise of providing loans to the Harmony Media controlled by Naik”, ED said.

Gazdar had given Rs 2.35 crore as a loan to Harmony Media which he received back subsequently. He also loaned it Rs 41.50 lakh, which too were returned to him, ED said.

Naik and Gazdar conducted a huge amount of cash transactions without leaving any trail of its origin or utilisation, ED said.

Gazdar was always in touch with Naik and was involved in all the illegalities at the behest of the controversial preacher, ED said. He did not provide to the investigators the documents pertaining to the companies in which he is the director and did not give details of their functioning or financial activities, the remand application said.

“The huge cash generation was only possible due to Gazdar who has played a pivotal role in acquiring and disposing cash,” said ED. Most of the companies or trusts set up by Naik were abroad, and they remitted funds to India, it said.

“Main accused of the case, Naik, is not co-operating with investigation as he is absconding and is not available in India. His whereabouts abroad are not known and has not been provided by Gazdar,” the agency said.

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ED registered a criminal case against Naik last December after taking cognisance of an NIA complaint under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The National Investigation Agency had earlier registered a case against 51-year-old Naik under anti-terror laws for allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups.

Naik is now said to be living in Saudi Arabia to evade arrest after some perpetrators of the Dhaka terror strike last year claimed that they were inspired by him.

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