New Delhi, May 30:  Zakir Naik, founder of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and wanted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on terror charges, has reportedly applied for Malaysian citizenship. As per PTI which quoted NIA sources, Naik is seeking Malaysian citizenship although he has a Permanent Residence status in the country. However, his application has not yet been responded to and hence, it is unclear if he will be granted citizenship in Malaysia.

The National Investigation agency moved the Interpol and sought issuance of a Red Corner Notice against Naik, which would make it easier for the agency to make an arrest. However, it has been told that since then, Naik has been changing his base ‘quite frequently’.

The preacher, who is believed to be having Permanent Residence status in Malaysia, has now sought its citizenship but no decision has been taken so far on his application, the sources said.

The Indian government is planning to use its diplomatic channels to frustrate all attempts by the controversial preacher to get citizenship in any country, they said.

The Malaysian authorities were aware about terror cases pending against the controversial Islamic preacher, they said.

Naik is being probed for terror and money laundering charges. He fled India immediately after an investigation against him was initiated.

His present place of stay is unknown and it is believed that he has been shuttling between the UAE, Saudi Arabia, African and Southeast Asian countries, the sources said.

The controversial preacher is accused of spreading hatred through his provocative speeches, funding terrorists and laundering several crores of rupees over the years.

The Interpol was approached against Naik after a year-long probe during which the NIA gathered evidence of his NGO – Islamic Research Foundation – and Peace TV, being used to allegedly promote hatred between different religious groups.

The central government has already banned his NGO and taken his TV channel off air. During the probe, the 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.

(With inputs from PTI)