On Wednesday, (June 20th, 2018) the Bombay high court refused to grant relief to Islamic preacher Zakir Naik who is facing charges of encouraging communal disharmony and committing unlawful activities, observing that he did not show any interest or desire to help in the investigation.
A Division bench of Justice RM Savant and Justice Revati Mohite Dere was hearing a petition filed by Zakir Naik seeking a direction to the National Investigation Agency and the Enforcement Directorate to submit the reports on the investigation carried out by them and also sought direction to the Ministry of External Affairs to cancel the revocation of his passport.
Court Said in its order “Regarding the other reliefs sought in the petition...we do not see how this court can consider them when the petitioner has not even presented himself before the probe agencies. The petitioner is ensconced in Malaysia and is seeking a direction to the agencies to submit probe reports.”
Zakir Naik has been charged under section 153 (a) of Indian Penal Code for inciting differences between different religious groups and under sections 10, 13 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for being a member of an unlawful association.
Justice RM Savant said “These are serious offences in which a person faces maximum punishment up to life imprisonment. The petitioner has been declared a proclaimed offender and extradition proceedings have been initiated with the authorities in Malaysia. Under such circumstances, this court cannot grant any relief to the petitioner.”
Zakir Naik has been undergoing investigation by National Investigation Agency and Enforcement Directorate after his speech on his Peace TV was cited as a reason by Bangladesh for an attack in Dhaka in 2016, which left 22 people dead.
NGO Islamic Research Foundation which is owned by Zakir Naik has been declared unlawful in 2016 and is under the watch of Enforcement Directorate for money laundering estimating to be more than Rs 18 crore.