zakri Naik & High Court

New Delhi: After the Interpol had thwarted NIA’s Red Corner Notice request to Zakir Naik, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday was quizzed by a judicial tribunal over its investigation against him.

The heads of Appellate Tribunal for PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) at New Delhi, Justice Manmohan Singh, prevented the agency from taking over Naik’s properties attached to it, reported New 18.

The justice drawing an analogy between Zakir Naik and Asaram Bapu, asked the ED: “I can name 10 babas who have properties worth more than Re 10,000 crore each and they are facing criminal cases. Have you acted against even one of them? What have you done against Asaram Bapu?”

The Tribunal’s chairman observed that NIA appears to have done nothing in the last 10 years for annexing Asaram’s properties but looked to react quicker in Naik’s case.

When the lawyer spoke about “incitement of violence in youth through Naik’s speeches”, Justice Singh said that the ED did not produce any prima facie evidence or statements from “such misguided youths” as to how these speeches pushed them to commit illegal acts.

“Have you recorded anybody’s statement as to how they were influenced by these speeches? Your chargesheet does not even mention how these speeches played any role in a terror attack in Dhaka in 2015,” he said.

Justice Singh then said that it appeared the ED, for their convenience, ignored 99 percent of these speeches and relied upon only 1 percent.

“Have you read the speeches which form part of your chargesheet? I have heard many of these speeches and I can tell you that so far I haven’t come across anything objectionable,” the judge told the ED’s lawyer.

The Tribunal also ordered a “status quo”, stopping the ED from taking possession of a Chennai school and a commercial property in Mumbai.

The ED had attached three properties of Naik, however, the judge said the agency cannot now proceed with the physical possession.

NIA had faced embarrassment last month when the Interpol refused its request for issuance of a Red Corner Notice against Zakir Naik, that was made through the Ministry of External Affairs.