He also challenged Goswami for an open debate over the allegations made against him.
Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has slapped Rs 500 crore defamation notice to Arnab Goswami editor-in-chief of Times Now for making false statements against him and tarnishing his image. Earlier Naik had criticised about the media trial running against him. Naik was under scanner after the terror attack in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka for allegedly inspiring terrorists through his sermons. In a press conference through skype from Saudi Arabia Naik had accused a section of media for carrying out media trial against him. He also challenged Goswami for an open debate over the allegations made against him. Naik clarified that he was not involved in terror activities and this entire issue has been blown out of proportion by media. He has sought an apology from Arnab Goswami and has asked Times Now to withdraw the statements made against him. He has been running a campaign often under hashtag #StopZakirNaik on his prime time debate.
According to sources, “Media trial should be stopped against Zakir Naik. We have never doubted the credentials of media. Some outfits have been planting false stories in media about Naik for defaming him. For stopping media trail against Naik, we have slapped a notice to Arnab Goswami.”
There have also been reports about Naik carrying out 800 illegal conversions in India by using funds collected from Saudi Arabia which has been denied by Naik supporters. They said, “These allegations are baseless. If Naik has carried out conversions then people making allegations must provide evidence and data for the same and mention about how many people have been converted by him.”
Naik’s lawyer Mubin Solkar has mentioned in the notice that the preacher has also levelled few other charges against the channel including creating enmity and hatred against religious communities and hurting religious sentiments of Muslim community. Notice has also been issued to Mumbai Bureau Chief Megha Prasad and Chief Executive Officer Avinash Kaul, Times Global Broadcasting, and its CEO, Sunil Lulla.
“It is you (Arnab Goswami) who is willfully without any authority carrying out a media trial and influencing the minds of the public and authority to the detriment of my client’s (Zakir Naik) interest and are malign statement without verifying records. The statements so made by you publically, is misleading and contain falsehood and half-truths. You have intentionally maligned my client’s reputation. You on your television channel have started a hate campaign against my client without having knowledge of the truth which you have deliberately hidden,” Solkar states in the notice .
Bangladesh had banned Naik’s channel Peace TV and cancelled the permit to downlink the channel.