LONDON: Interpol has rejected India’s request of a Red Corner Notice against Dr Zakir Naik and has also deleted all data on the controversial Islamic preacher. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) which has filed a charge sheet against Naik in a Mumbai court said it will submit a fresh request to Interpol in this regard.
“NIA’s request for Red Notice against Zakir Naik was not accepted by Interpol as charge sheet had not been filed when the request was submitted to the Interpol Hqrs. Now NIA will submit a fresh request to Interpol as charge sheet has already been filed in the concerned NIA court in Mumbai,” a spokesperson of the agency said.
The decision to reject India’s request was taken by the Interpol’s Commission in its 102nd session held on 24-27 October 2017 and data on Naik was deleted from its database on November 9.
This was conveyed by the Interpol to Naik’s London-based legal firm Corker Binning in a letter dated December 11, 2017. The Interpol contended that there was a severe lack of evidentiary basis, a failure by Indian authorities to follow due process of law, political and religious bias that formed the basis of such a notice, and lack of international interest.
Reacting to the development, Naik, in a video message, said, “I am relived about it. But I would have been much more relived if my own Indian government and Indian agencuies, they gave me justice and cleared me of all the false charges. I am sure it will happen soon for the tructh has fantastic way of coming out. It came out internationally and it will come out in India soon.”
Watch: Zakir Naik’s statement on Interpol dropping Red Corner Notice against him
The Interpol’s Commission found after thorough examination that the request from the Indian NCB was not compliant with Interpol’s rules and thus decided the lndian government’s request for Red Corner notice should be cancelled. Furthermore, the Interpol general secretariat has informed all.
Interpol NCB’s that it has deleted the information relating to Dr Zakir Naik and urged all NCB’s to update their national databases accordingly.
The Interpol was listening to the request made by The National Central Bureau of Interpol of India made in May 2017 pertaining to Naik. The Indian NCB of Interpol had requested for Red Corner Notice of Dr Zakir Naik for “promoting enmity between two different religious groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony, being a member of unlawful Association etc”.
The Indian government, through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had banned Dr Zakir Naik and his organisation, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) in November last year.
Following the ban, all the operations of IRF were stopped, and all the staff relieved of their duties. Dr Naik also lost his Islamic International School, a school that he had founded and developed over the Harvard pattern of academics. Despite protests, the School’s bank accounts were frozen by the Indian authorities following the ban.
He is wanted in India in connection with alleged terror funding and money laundering cases. The NIA has also charged him for radicalising youth.
Naik, a 52-year-old medical doctor, has aroused controversy with his puritan brand of Islam – recommending the death penalty for homosexuals and those who abandon Islam as their faith, according to media reports. A Youtube video shows Naik saying that if Osama bin Laden “is terrorizing America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, I am with him”.
Bangladesh suspended Peace TV channel, which features Naik’s preachings, after some media reports claimed bombers of a Dhaka cafe that killed 22 people last year were admirers of him. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
The NIA had on November 18, 2016, registered a case against Naik at its Mumbai branch under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
He has taken residence in Malaysia. India is likely to make a formal request to Malaysia for his extradition.
The External Affairs Ministry has revoked his passport on NIA’s request. The NIA had thrice issued notices under CrPC section 160 to Naik, asking him to join the investigation, but he did not appear before it, he said in a statement here.
The 51-year-old televangelist has repeatedly denied accusations of “running away” from investigations. A non-resident Indian (NRI), Dr Naik has been away from India since May 2016, much before the Dhaka incident of July that year.
He has been managing IRF’s operations and delivering talks across several countries.