Zakir Naik has promoted enmity and hatred between different religious groups through his public speeches, said Indian investigators in their charge sheet against the controversial Islamic preacher.
During the investigation, it was found that through his public lectures/speeches, Naik “deliberately and maliciously insulted the religious beliefs of Hindus, Christians and non-Wahabi Muslims, particularly Shia, Sufi, and Barelwis, with intention of outraging their religious feelings,” National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India said in the charge sheet filed with a special court yesterday.
Islamic Research Foundatin (IRF) and Harmony Media Private Limited, “the two organizations floated by Naik, have been instrumental in the maximum circulation of such incriminating speeches in the form of CD/DVD/ TV programme,” the charge sheet put up on the website of NIA said.
“During the investigation, nine speeches and/or utterings, in particular, were found to be inflammatory as they hurt the religious sentiments besides inciting violence,” according to the charge sheet.
The charge sheet, which names Naik and his banned NGO Islamic Research Foundation and Harmony Media Private Limited as accused, was filed before the special NIA court on the basis of 151 witnesses and under different sections of Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. IRF was banned last year under India’s tough law UAPA Act.
“He (Naik) has conspired with the IRF Trust and the Harmony Media Private Limited to commit offences of (i) promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India through his public speeches and lectures (ii) deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs,” NIA says.
According to the charge sheet, “during the investigation sufficient oral, documentary, technical, forensic and material evidence has been collected which establishes the criminal conspiracy in promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India through public speeches and lectures. Zakir Naik has deliberately insulted other religions or religious beliefs under the aegis of IRF with the help of HMPL to cause dissatisfaction.”
It said the investigation conducted by NIA has firmly established that the “incriminating public speeches/utterings” of Naik have been in circulation through the electronic media, such as CD/DVD and web portals Facebook/ YouTube, etc and have been, and continue to be seen, across the world.
“The probe has also established the role of Harmony Media Private Limited in collusion with co-accused Zakir Naik in video-recording the incriminating speeches of accused Zakir Abdul Karim Naik, editing the same for public view, making master DVD of incriminating speeches for further replication and circulation to general public, forwarding the speeches to the Global Broadcast Corporation, Dubai, for broadcast in the Peace TV,” said the charge sheet.
NIA also said the investigation also brought out that “many incriminating” speeches of Naik were delivered during the 10-day Peace Conference organized by IRF in Mumbai from 2007 to 2011.
“The minutes of IRF Board of Trustee's meetings confirm that the IRF had planned, organized, funded and promoted this event where there was open exhortation to convert people of other religion into Islamic religion by Zakir Naik,” said the charge sheet.
The investigation has further revealed that the IRF and the IRF Educational Trust have received huge donations from the public, within India and from abroad. Most of the acknowledgment receipts show only ‘Well Wisher' instead of the real name of the donor, said the NIA document filed in the special court.
It was also found during the probe that huge funds have been received by the domestic and foreign entities and individuals related to accused Zakir Naik and that huge quantity of cash has been generated in the system by entities and individuals connected to the preacher which was invested in real estate and holding companies, said the charge sheet.
The investigation has shown that there are 19 immovable properties, including land and building, worth Rs 104 crores connected with Zakir Naik and the source as well as the mode of acquisition of these properties is being investigated, it added.
The probe also “established that the Peace TV, which telecast Naik’s speeches, was found guilty of breaching Rule 2.3 of the Communications Act, 2003, in the UK as well, because in presenting his theological views on these points, Zakir Naik did not include any reference to alternative interpretations by Muslim scholars [of the views he presented], nor sought to mitigate the potential offence by providing sufficient context for his remarks,” said the charge sheet.
It also said that during the investigation, it has been found that Nailah Naushad Noorani, sister of Zakir Naik, was a trustee of the IRF Educational Trust along with him. When Zakir Naik became NRI in 2013, he appointed Nailah as a Director in Harmony Media as well as in Longlast Constructions Company, in his place.
“It was found that she was Director on paper only; all the affairs of companies were handled by her brother. She signed the cheques on the instruction of her brother and had no knowledge of the company affairs. Furthermore, she had received Rs 29 crores from Zakir Naik through her parent's bank account between 2013 and 2016. This money was further invested into Harmony Media and Longlast Constructions Company as per Zakir Naik's instructions,” said the charge sheet.