New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will approach the CBI for requesting Interpol to issue a red corner notice, commonly known as RCN, against fugitive Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is currently residing in Malaysia, sources said.
Naik is wanted in India for alleged money laundering and delivering inflammatory speeches.
In India, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the nodal agency and one of the oldest members of Interpol which issues RCN. Once the RCN is issued, a request is sent to law enforcement agencies worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest the person pending his or her extradition.
Naik is a known hate preacher whose name prominently figured during the Dhaka bomb blasts in July 2016 that killed many. A bomber later confessed that he was influenced by Naik’s messages following which he fled India.
The ED is also planning to approach a Mumbai court to issue a non-bailable arrest warrant against the 54-year-old preacher who recently created a row in Malaysia by delivering hateful speeches that had potential to create trouble in the multi-ethnic Muslim majority nation.
Once the Mumbai court issues a non-bailable warrant against Naik, the ED will send a formal request to the CBI to send a petition to the Interpol seeking a red corner notice to Malaysia, demanding that Naik must be extradited to India as per the extradition treaty between the two nations.
Naik has been in Malaysia for about three years after he was granted permanent residency in the country following Britain and Canada’s refusal to grant him visa.
The Interpol has in the past rejected the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) request on the ground that no charge-sheet was filed against Naik at the time of submission. The agency had termed it as a technical ground and that Interpol had not taken cognizance of it filing a charge-sheet against Naik and others before a Mumbai court in October 2017.
The ED had filed its first direct charge-sheet against Naik in May this year. It identified the proceeds of crime was worth Rs 193.06 crore and alleged that Naik’s speeches incited young Muslim men to commit terrorist acts.
Through his Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and later through Peace TV, Naik created a wide follower base. He often propagated Islam through his speeches. Peace TV is banned in many countries because of the hate speeches he delivered, while IRF has already been declared an unlawful association by the Central government.
The ED has alleged that Naik’s IRF had organised peace conferences in Mumbai between 2007 and 2011 in which he attempted to convert people and incite terrorist acts.
Naik had denied the charges in a statement issued in June this year. However, he was infamously quoted to have said: “If bin Laden is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him. If he is terrorising America, the biggest terrorist, I am with him. Every Muslim should be a terrorist.”
Naik has also defended the terrorist organisation Islamic State and batted for men’s ‘right’ to beat up their wives, the Indian agencies have alleged.