MUMBAI: Absconding NRI tele-evangelist Zakir Naik on Friday slammed the Enforcement Director (ED) for alleging that though he had no earnings, he had transferred Rs 46 crore to his Indian bank accounts in a six-year period.
In a detailed statement, Naik said: "Why is the ED lying? When everyone - including all the government agencies - know that I have multiple businesses and revenue streams and my earnings have always reflected in the tax returns I have filed, why is the ED lying about it?"
He wondered "whether the pressure" is so huge that they (ED) had to resort to lies to achieve the goal set out by "their political bosses".
Naik's rejoinder came two days after the ED filed a charge sheet before the Special PMLA Court of Judge M.S. Azmi, accusing him of money-laundering.
According to the ED charge sheet, Naik, an Islamic preacher, keeps travelling around the world with no "known sources" of income and yet he managed to transfer Rs 49.20 crore to his Indian bank accounts and that the total proceeds of the "crime" were around Rs 193 crore.
In response, Naik said he has filed all his tax returns dutifully every year till 2016 and the ED had access to his tax documents which clearly show his revenue streams through multiple businesses.
He pointed out that he is an NRI since 2010, and living and earning outside India for nine years.
"I earn over a crore (rupees) a month, and I send money back to India as and when required. I sent it from my Dubai account to my India account and every penny is then accounted for in my tax returns," Naik contended.
The controversial tele-evangelist - who reportedly lives in Malaysia currently - admitted that between 2010-2016, he may have sent Rs 49 crore, or Rs 65 lakh per month for charities.
"For a country that receives more than Rs 6,000 crore every month from UAE-based Indians, how is my Rs 65 lakh a problem," he asked.
Naik dared the ED to prove that a single rupee of the Rs 49 crore sent by him was used for any purpose other than the declared charitable purpose.
Claiming that by law, he was not required to explain his overseas job or business to anybody in India as long as he utilized legitimate channels and accounted for every penny he remitted to the county, he said it was "puzzling" from where the ED got the idea that he was not earning anything though he was a part-time businessman with multiple, legitimate businesses besides being a full-time preacher.
"I don't charge for my lectures, nor do I earn from the Peace TV, so I do need another revenue stream to survive, which I have... (The premise) I can survive outside India without earning anything is not just illogical, its childish," he said.