The government has revoked the passport of fugitive Islamic preacher Zakir Naik following a recommendation from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which has already booked him under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his terror links.
The revocation of the passport by the regional passport office in Mumbai makes Zakir Naik a stateless person. TOI had first reported that his passport would be revoked.
NIA had probed Naik’s speeches that allegedly incited youth to commit terror acts and moved for revocation of his passport after he failed to respond to its multiple notices asking him to join the investigation, reports Times of India.
Naik has been reportedly travelling between Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and other countries after leaving India last year but the revocation of his passport will now restrict his movements, said officials. The assistant passport officer (policy) at RPO Mumbai wrote to Naik on July 3, directing that he meet him on any working day between 10am and 12.30pm within 10 days, along with his passport dated January 20, 2016. “Failure to submit the passport will force us to initiate necessary action under the Passport Act, 1967 against you,” he had warned.
NIA had written to the RPO (Mumbai) on June 29 seeking revocation of Naik’s passport on the ground that he was “not cooperating with them in the investigation pending against him”. Citing its June 23 communication to the home ministry, NIA said Zakir Naik had thrice been issued notices under Section 160 of CrPC on February 28, March 15 and March 31 but was yet to join the proceedings against him. It added that a non-bailable warrant had been issued against him on April 21.
Naik left India on May 13 last year. After he failed to join the probe, NIA had also approached Interpol seeking a red corner notice against him.
The National Investigation Agency has gathered evidence of his NGO, Islamic Research Foundation, and Peace TV being used to allegedly promote hatred between different religious groups. The government has already banned his NGO and taken his TV channel off air.
During the probe, NIA claimed to have found 37 properties owned by Naik and companies run by him, which are estimated to be worth more than Rs 100 crore. 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”.