Religious preacher Zakir Naik on Tuesday claimed that investigating agencies in India were trying to pin charges on him on the instructions of their “political bosses”, PTI reported.
Naik made the statement as the Enforcement Directorate was reportedly set to send requests for an Interpol Red Notice against Naik and for his extradition from Malaysia.
Last month, the Enforcement Directorate had filed a chargesheet against Naik on charges of money laundering of around Rs 193 crore and creating illegal real estate assets in India and abroad. The money laundering inquiry was based on a first information report filed by the National Investigation Agency against Naik and others for allegedly indulging in unlawful activities by promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups through provocative messages, The Hindu had reported.
“Any rational mind will see that the Indian agencies are not being driven by their duty of solving a crime but by the will of their political bosses,” IANS quoted Zakir Naik’s statement as saying. “Fortunately for me, Interpol is not driven by Indian politics. Somehow they are not convinced about my ‘crime’ the way Indian agencies have been claiming.”
Naik accused agencies of “trying to pin something, some charges, any charges” on him. He said when terror charges did not work with the Interpol, agencies in India charged him with money laundering. “Despite pressures from India, the Interpol has not issued a RCN [Red Corner Notice], and now the agencies are trying their luck with money-laundering to get them to comply.”
Naik said he was willing to return to India if the Supreme Court gave it to him in writing that he will not be arrested till he is convicted. Naik said he trusted the Indian judiciary, but had no faith in the prosecution system.
“Despite allegations and complaints, there is not a single verdict against me in any court anywhere in India or the world,” he said.
Naik, who has a permanent residency permit in Malaysia, has been on the Indian government’s radar ever since allegations arose that he had inspired one of the terrorists behind a Dhaka restaurant attack on July 1, 2016. He was also accused of meeting two brothers from Kerala who were among those who went missing in West Asia and were feared to have joined the Islamic State group. On November 15, 2016, the Centre banned Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation with immediate effect.