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ED unlikely to allow Zakir Naik to depose via video link, aide remanded in JC

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is unlikely to yield to controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s request to depose before it via video link from abroad in connection with a money laundering probe case.

ED officials have indicated inability to allow the proposal as such a remedy is not allowed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Moreover, they said, the agency wants to question Naik “in person” given the serious charges of money laundering being investigated against him and others.

The agency has issued three summons to Naik and is now mulling to get a court-issued summon or Non Bailable Warrant (NBW) against him as options under the PMLA to summon him have almost run out, they added.

Naik, through his lawyer, had made such a proposal on Tuesday.

“My client is willing and ready to give any statement before you via Skype or any other mode of electronic media to assist you in your investigation,” a letter sent by Naik, also the founder of NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), through his lawyer Mahesh Mule said.

Naik had said he is an NRI and has not received any summons.

The letter, however, added that his brother was served the summons on February 2, asking Naik to appear before ED on February 9 and maintained it could not be construed as proper service (of summons).

The special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act cases here today remanded Aamir Gazdar, a close aide of the controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, in judicial custody till March 8.

The Enforcement Directorate, which arrested Gazdar on February 16, recommended his judicial custody today.

In the remand application, the ED said during the interrogation Gazdar gave details of the quantum of cash transactions handled by him at the instance of Naik, but did not give further information.

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