Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Russia’s Vladivostok for the 5th EEF Summit, met Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad and discussed the issue of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s extradition.
Briefing reporters about the meeting, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said, “Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of Zakir Naik’s extradition. Both the parties have decided that our officials will stay in contact regarding the matter and it is an important issue for us.”
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on PM Modi’s meeting with PM of Malaysia: Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of Zakir Naik’s extradition. Both the parties have decided that our officials will stay in contact regarding the matter and it is an important issue for us. pic.twitter.com/Av84Rds4p3
— ANI (@ANI) September 5, 2019
The Indian government in June had officially requested the Malaysian government to extradite Naik so that he can be probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with allegations of money laundering. Naik came under the scanner after his sermons on his Peace TV were cited as a reason by Bangladesh for an terror attack in Dhaka in 2016 in which 22 lost their lives. Naik’s NGO – Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) – was also declared unlawful in 2016 and is being probed by the ED over allegations of money laundering to the tune of more than Rs 18 crore.
Before India’s official request, Malaysia had refused to extradite the Islamic preacher, saying that the country had the right to not extradite him.
“Zakir, in general, feels that he is not going to get a fair trial (in India),” PM Mohamad was quoted as saying by The Star, a leading English daily in Malaysia.”
In an interview to The Week magazine in May, Naik said that he was ready to return to India if the Supreme Court gives an assurance that he would not be arrested till his conviction. He added that he had faith in India’s judicial system but it was better before than it is now.
“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,” Naik told the magazine.
“Moreover, if we see the history, more than 90 per cent Muslims who faced terror charges have been let free after 10-15 years. So if I look at an average, I will be behind bars for about 10 years, and my entire mission would get disrupted. Why should I be a fool?” he added.