The Indian government on Wednesday said it is yet to receive an official confirmation from Malaysia with regard to the extradition of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.
“Ministry of External Affairs had made a formal request to Government of Malaysia for his extradition this year in January and has been pursuing it through diplomatic channels. We have seen media reports regarding the deportation of Zakir Naik by the Malaysian Government. We are yet to receive official confirmation in this regard from Malaysian Government,” sources said.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), that is probing the cases against Naik, too denied having any information about his return to India. “We have no such information as of now. We are verifying it,” said Alok Mittal Spokesperson of the NIA on the reports of Naik being brought to India from Malaysia.
The statements come following reports in media which quoted sources as saying that Naik will be extradited to India by the Malaysian government and will be brought to Mumbai on Wednesday night.
Naik is facing charges of inciting communal disharmony and committing unlawful activities in India. The Indian government has sent a request to the Malaysian government for his extradition.
While dismissing the reports of his return to India Naik said, “The news of my coming to India is totally baseless and false. I have no plans to come to India till I don’t feel safe from unfair prosecution. Insha Allah when I feel that the government will be just and fair, I will surely return to my homeland.”
Naik is facing probe both in India and Bangladesh after two of the suspects in the terror attack at Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka in July 2016 claimed they were inspired by Naik’s radical preachings and they were staunch followers of Naik on Facebook and on the Peace Television Channel. The terror attack had left 22 people dead.
Following a request from Bangladesh probes were launched by both NIA and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Naik and his NGO — Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). The ED is probing allegations of money laundering against the NGO and has declared it unlawful. The Ministry of External Affairs too has cancelled his passport and asked Malaysia to handover the fugitive to India. Naik had last month petitioned Bombay High Court seeking relief against passport revocation by MEA. The Bombay HC, however, refused to grant relief to Naik.