The Ministry of External Affairs has refused to share details of the request made to Malaysia seeking extradition of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, PTI reported on Sunday. In response to an Right to Information application filed by PTI, the ministry said there are 160 extradition requests from India pending with various countries.
Naik has been under investigation since 2016, when the Centre banned his Islamic Research Foundation for five years. Indian security agencies have been monitoring him ever since allegations surfaced that he had inspired one of the militants involved in the Dhaka restaurant attack on July 1, 2016.
The ministry cited a clause of the Right to Information Act, 2005, that bars the disclosure of information received in confidence from a foreign government. It also cited Section 8(1)(h) of the legislation, which bars disclosure of information that could impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders.
The RTI request had asked the ministry for a copy of the letter or request made to Malaysia in the case and a copy of any response it got.
The ministry made a formal request to Malaysia to deport Naik in January. India has an extradition treaty with Malaysia. In July, ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar claimed that India’s request was under “active consideration” with Malaysian government.
However, a day later, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that his country had no plan to deport Naik to India as he had been given permanent residency status.