India formally requests Malaysia to extradite fugitive Islamic preacher Zakir Naik

New Delhi: The Indian government has now sent a formal request to Malaysia to extradite fugitive Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. News agency ANI quoted sources as saying that the Indian government is pursuing the matter with the Malaysian government.

The anti-terror National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been pursuing the case of Zakir Naik, who had fled India before the agency took over the probe against him.

Ever since leaving India, Naik has been residing in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation in Southeast Asia.

Indian agencies have been pursuing Naik on charges of alleged money laundering and delivering hate speeches that incited extremism.

Naik’s name has also surfaced in the probe into 2016 Dhaka bomb blasts in which scores were killed. A bomber had later confessed before the authorities that Naik's speeches had influenced him.

According to an NIA official, Naik has been residing in Malaysia now for nearly 3 years. In India, he used to preach on the now-banned 'Peace TV'.

Malaysia had granted Naik permanent residency after his request for visa were rejected by Britain and Canada.

Naik's Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), an NGO, had also organised 'peace conferences' in Mumbai from 2007 to 2011. During these conferences, the Islamic preacher is alleged to have attempted to convert people and incite terror acts, the NIA has said.

On his part, Naik has refuted all allegations levelled against him in India.

In September last year, there was a controversy after then Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad claimed that his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi had not requested him to extradite Naik to India.

The denial had come after Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had told the media that PM Modi had taken up Naik's extradition matter with Mahathir during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum.

"Not many countries want him. I met with Modi. He didn't ask me for this man," Mahathir had told the Kuala Lumpur-based BFM Malaysia radio station.

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