India to continue pursuing Malaysia for Zakir Naik’s extradition

Indian authorities have filed money-laundering charges involving about RM115 million against preacher Zakir Naik, who has been granted permanent residence in Malaysia. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: The government of India will continue to pursue with Malaysia its request for extradition of Dr Zakir Naik, according to its external affairs ministry.

It comes two days after Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia has the right to refuse any request to extradite Naik over fears that he would not be given a fair trial.

“We will continue to pursue the matter with Malaysia,” the ministry’s official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters in New Delhi today in response to queries regarding Naik’s extradition.

India, he added, has extradition arrangements with many nations and that in the past there have been numerous cases of successful extradition.

“The fairness of the Indian justice system has never been in question,” he said, possibly alluding to Naik’s concern that he would not get a fair trial in the country.

Indian authorities have filed money-laundering charges involving about RM115 million against Naik, who has been granted permanent residence in Malaysia.

Naik has also been accused of inciting enmity and hatred between different religious communities in his preaching.

On Monday, Mahathir said Malaysia had the right not to allow Naik to be extradited if he is likely not to be accorded justice.

He also likened the Naik case to Malaysia’s efforts to bring home convicted killer Sirul Azhar Umar from Australia.

Canberra is refusing to deport Sirul for fear he would be sent to the gallows.

Mahathir had stated in the past that Malaysia would not give in easily to demands made by other countries, stating that the government needed to look at all factors before they responded or risked someone becoming “a victim”.

Last weekend, it was reported that a court decision in India, due on June 19, is expected to set the next course of action for Indian authorities in their attempt to extradite Naik.

The decision, in a special court in Mumbai, will be about whether a non-bailable warrant of arrest should be issued against Naik on money laundering charges.

India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED), its main agency against money laundering, has filed a charge sheet against Naik and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ED is expected to get the warrant from the court, according to the Times Now news website.

If a warrant of arrest is issued, Indian police would be able to make a request to Interpol seeking a red notice against Naik and his extradition from Malaysia.