Zakir Naik diverted funds meant for Muslims’ welfare, Indian investigators allege

PETALING JAYA: Controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik has allegedly amassed assets worth Rs193 crore (RM113mil) by diverting funds and donations received from Islamic countries that were meant for the “welfare of Muslims”, says a news report.

The Times of India reported that these assets included at least 20 flats in the cities of Mumbai and Pune in India.

India’s Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) money laundering probe alleged that Dr Zakir used his Islamic Research Foundation, meant for the social welfare of the Muslim community, to organise dubious donations and diverted the proceeds to purchase properties.

He was also accused of raising donations amounting to Rs65 crore  (RM38.3mil) from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, besides India, between 2014 and 2017.

The ED also tracked Rs49 crore received from unexplained sources in Dubai which he further used to book at least 20 flats in Mumbai and Pune, said the report.

The ED probe revealed that nine flats worth Rs13 crore (RM7.7mil) were booked in Mumbai in the name of his wife and son, and another 11 flats in Pune.

“The booking amounts were paid by routing of unexplained funds received by Dr Zakir through the bank accounts of his wife, son and niece,” a source was quoted as saying in the report.

The transaction trail also revealed Dr Zakir's investment of Rs13 crore (Rm7.7mil) in three properties in Mazgaon, Mumbai, routed through the bank accounts of his mother, father and sister.

The source of funds remains unexplained, according to the ED, The Times of India reported.

The ED had last Friday (March 21) arrested jeweller Abdul Kadir Najmudin Sathak, an aide of Zakir, for allegedly assisting him to transfer funds of dubious origins from the UAE to him.

Dr Zakir, who is wanted in his home country of India for alleged money-laundering and terrorism, has been living in Malaysia where he has permanent residency.

Last July, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that Malaysia would not deport Dr Zakir “as long as he is not creating any problems” here.

Dr Zakir, 53, has been condemned by various groups in Malaysia over his sermons that have been described as being extremist and disrespectful of other religions.

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