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ED to invoke Fugitive Economic Offenders Act against Zakir Naik

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New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is going to invoke Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA) against Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is currently residing in Malaysia, official sources said on Thursday.

A highly placed ED source told IANS, "We are mulling the idea to invoke FEOA against Naik in the money launderting case being probed by us."

The ED booked him in 2016 on an FIR filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The preacher is wanted by authorities for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through speeches.

On Wednesday, a Special Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) court in Mumbai issued non-bailable warrant against Naik.

According to the ED officials, under the FEOA, any person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has left India to avoid criminal prosecution or is abroad or refuses to return to India will face criminal prosecution.

After the person is declared a 'fugitive economic offender', the prosecuting agency is vested with the power to confiscate all his assets and properties to recover the dues.

Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, the chairman of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines was declared the first person to be declared fugitive economic offender by the ED in January this year.

The ED has also moved the court to invoke the FEOA against fugitive diamond jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi of the Geetanjali group in a money laundering case involving Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case.

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