NEW DELHI: Controversial Islamic preacher and televangelist Zakir Naik‘s passport has been revoked after his consistent failure to present himself before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with alleged terror-funding cases.
The Regional Passport Office in Mumbai has revoked Naik’s passport, after he failed to respond to a show cause notice issued to him for a personal appearance by July 13. The notice was served to ask Naik why his passport should not be revoked in view of various investigations pending against him.
The MEA had commenced the process to revoke Naik’s passport last week after receiving the request from the NIA, which is probing Naik on charges of terror and money laundering.
“We have received a request from the agency concerned a few days ago. We have taken action on that request to revoke the passport. There is a process for such steps which need to be complied with under the provisions of the law and we have taken action,” MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said previously.
The NIA, on November 18, 2016, had registered a criminal case against Naik at its Mumbai branch under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
His organisation, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), has already been declared an unlawful association by the government.
The controversial preacher is accused of spreading hatred by his provocative speeches, funding terrorists and laundering several crores of rupees over the years. He had fled India in July 2016 after terrorists in Bangladesh claimed that they were inspired by his speeches on waging ‘jihad’.
A special NIA court in Mumbai, while issuing a non-bailable warrant against Naik, had said that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that Naik is evading arrest and that he will not voluntarily appear before the court or before the agency.”
The Interpol was approached against Naik after a yearlong probe during which the NIA gathered evidence of his IRF and Peace TV being used to allegedly promote hatred between different religious groups.