ED to push Interpol for Red Corner Notice against Zakir Naik
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is going to push Interpol for a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against controversial preacher Zakir Naik, wanted by Indian authorities since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches, sources have said.
The agency is planning to approach a court in Mumbai to issue a non-bailable arrest warrant against the 53-year-old Islamic preacher, who is currently in Malaysia, they said. Naik has been in Malaysia for about three years after he was granted permanent residency in the country.
If the warrant is issued, the agency will send a petition to the Interpol seeking a red corner notice (RCN) to Malaysia, demanding he must be extradited to India as per the extradition treaty between the two nations.
The Interpol has in the past rejected the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) request on the ground that no charge-sheet was filed at the time of submission. The agency had termed it as a technical ground and that Interpol had not taken cognizance of it filing a charge sheet against Naikand others before a Mumbai court in October 2017.
“He will respond as on when there is any development,” a source close to Naik said.
With fresh probe and evidence, ED is likely to move for the RCN soon.
ED had filed its first direct charge sheet against Naik in May this year. It identifies proceeds of crime worth Rs 193.06 crore and alleges that Naik’s speeches incited young Muslim men to commit terrorist acts. ED alleged that Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) had organised peace conferences in Mumbai between 2007 and 2011, in which Naik attempted to convert people and incite terrorist acts.
Naik had denied the charges in a statement issued in June this year.
“The Indian agencies are desperately trying to pin something on me. Some charges, any charges. Which is why when terror charges did not work with the Interpol, they’ve moved on to money laundering. The Interpol refused to accept the Indian government’s charges against me on two different occasions in the last two years, and I don’t see that stance changing,” he had said.
“The first time was two years ago but it was cancelled by Interpol soon after, as the Indian government failed to produce charges and evidence. The second time was when the Indian government submitted a chargesheet to the Interpol late 2017,” he added.
“It’s been more than a year and despite pressure from the Indian government, the Interpol hasn’t issued an RCN. Now, the agencies are trying their luck with money laundering to get the Interpol to issue an RCN.”
Earlier this month, Naik was barred by Malaysian police from addressing a religious event being held during August 16-18. Naik had been at the centre of a storm since videos emerged of an August 8 event where he said Malaysian Hindus were more loyal to the Indian prime minister than their own country. Three ministers have demanded he be expelled.
Malaysia is yet to hear India on a request for his extradition.