KUALA LUMPUR: Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy has urged the Indian government to make a formal request to the Malaysian government to extradite controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik if he is indeed wanted in the country.
He said India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) had said it would extradite Naik from either Malaysia or Saudi Arabia, where he is known to be residing.
When asked if he was aware if the preacher is currently in Malaysia, Waytha said he was not sure.
“I am not sure, but I have heard that he may be residing in an apartment in Putrajaya or Cyberjaya,” Waytha told FMT.
Naik was last seen on Sept 29 participating in Friday prayers at the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque in Putrajaya. Photos of him among the congregation were uploaded on Facebook and spread via social media.
Separately, Waytha said he welcomed the action by India’s Enforcement Directorate, which is reportedly considering becoming a party in the case filed by Waytha and 19 others demanding the deportation of Naik.
“We will welcome the Indian authorities and if they make such an application to become a party, we will not object.
“They are certainly an interested party. They can shed a lot of light on the case before the court,” said the lawyer.
In March, Waytha and 19 others had filed a suit against the government for allegedly harbouring the controversial preacher.
They said he was capable of threatening national security and harmony and had encouraged terrorism in public.
They also sought a court order that Naik be considered a threat to Malaysia, and an order to stop him from coming to the country or remaining here if he is already in the country.
The Asian Age quoted an Enforcement Directorate official as saying Naik was allegedly in Malaysia in April to hold discussions with several “intellectuals”.
“We are exploring legal avenues to become a party to the proceedings related to a suit in a Malaysian court asking for his deportation,” the official was reported as saying.
According to sources quoted by the Asian Age, the department can request its Malaysian counterparts to represent its case in the suit to ensure Naik is brought back to the country to face the money laundering probe.
Naik’s Mumbai-based lawyer Amin Solkar told the paper that he did not know whether the preacher was in Malaysia.
“If the Enforcement Directorate or any other agency serves a summons to him as per law, we can think about what steps can be taken.
“If they think he is abroad, the correct way to serve the summons to him will be through his email address. I don’t know if this is being done,” Amin was quoted as saying.
Naik was reported to have failed to respond to four previous Enforcement Directorate summonses served on him.
The preacher is wanted for questioning in India over money-laundering and terrorism-related crimes.
He fled India in 2016 after a suspect in a terror attack on a Dhaka cafe in Bangladesh said he had been influenced by Naik’s speeches. Bangladesh then canned his Peace TV channel.