New Delhi: The Government of India on Wednesday made a formal request to the Malaysian government to extradite controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “India has made a formal request for the extradition of Zakir Naik. We would continue to pursue the matter with Malaysia.”
“India has extradition arrangements with many nations. In the past, there are numerous cases of successful extradition to India. The fairness of the Indian justice system has never been in question,” he was quoted as adding.
India’s action comes just a couple of days after Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was quoted as saying that the country had the right to not extradite Naik. “Zakir, in general, feels that he is not going to get a fair trial (in India),” Mohamad was quoted as saying by The Star, an English daily in Malaysia.
Naik faces a probe in India after his sermons were cited as a reason by Bangladesh for an attack in Dhaka in 2016. This is not the first time that India is persuading the southeast Asian country to extradite the Islamic preacher.
Even last year, Malaysian authorities refused to send Naik back. “As long as he is not creating any problem, we will not deport him because he has been given permanent residency status,” Mohamad had said then.
India has declared Naik’s NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), unlawful in 2016 and is being probed by the ED over allegations of money laundering to the tune of more than Rs 18 crore.
In an interview to a magazine last month, Naik had claimed he was ready to come to India if the Supreme Court assured him that he wouldn’t be arrested till conviction. “Before the BJP government came, you could speak against the government, and at least 80 per cent of the times you would get justice. Today, the chances are 10-20 per cent,” he reportedly said to the magazine.