The Centre said on Wednesday that it had made a formal request to Malaysia in January for the extradition of the controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.
Naik, chief of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), is said to be in Malaysia since last year. He said on Wednesday that he would not return to India till he felt “safe from unfair prosecution”.
Naik’s statement, issued through his spokesperson here, comes amid reports that he was being deported to India from Malaysia.
“The news of my coming to India is totally baseless and false. I have no plans to come to India till I feel safe from unfair prosecution,” Naik said. He added that he would “surely return to my homeland” when he feels “that the government will be just and fair”.
Naik is facing various cases, including for hate speech and money laundering.
“MEA has been pursuing the extradition of Naik with Malaysia through diplomatic channels. We have seen media reports regarding the deportation of Naik, we are yet to receive official confirmation in this regard from Malaysian authorities,” a government official said.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had first registered a case against the 51-year-old Naik under anti-terror laws in 2016 for allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups.
The NIA and Mumbai Police, subsequently, carried out searches at 10 places in Mumbai, including the residential premises of some of the office-bearers of the foundation run by Naik.
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