The noose is tightening around controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. After securing a non-bailable warrant, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday filed an application before the designated court in Mumbai to declare Naik a fugitive economic offender under the Economic Offenders Act.
The agency has already filed a charge sheet against Naik. But with this move, they are a step closer to extraditing the controversial preacher. Last time this Act was invoked was against the beleaguered business tycoon Vijay Mallya. The amended act gives more power to the ED.
”Under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, effective action can be taken against economic offenders who have fled Indian jurisdiction. It provides for attachment and confiscation of property of fugitive economic offenders and disentitles them from defending any civil claim,” reads the amended the act. Once declared a fugitive, the ED will also have the power to attach his overseas properties.
Naik last week had moved a plea through his lawyer seeking time for two months to appear before the court which has already been rejected. Naik is facing charges of promoting terrorism and disrupting communal peace in society. The investigative agencies have also alleged that Zakir Naik was involved in forceful conversions of people from different religions to Islam.