Interpol rejects Indian plea to arrest Dr Zakir Naik

NEW DELHI Dec 17: In a setback to Indian efforts to get religious scholar and televangelist Zakir Naik, Interpol has turned down New Delhi’s request for a red corner notice against him, citing the ground that no charge sheet was filed against the accused at the time of submission of the request.

According to India media, the Interpol has cancelled New Delhi’s request for a red-corner notice against Zakir Naik that could have restricted his international travel.

Interpol also told police agencies in different countries to remove information relating to the preacher from its database that it, or India, may have sent them.

Zakir Naik, 52, promptly welcomed the Interpol communication. “Am relieved but would be more relieved if my own Indian government and Indian agencies gave me justice and also cleared me for all the charges,” the televangelist who has been on the run said in a video message, according to Indian media.

Zakir Naik fled India in July last year after terrorists in neighbouring Bangladesh claimed that they were inspired by his speeches. That revelation prompted security agencies in India to take a hard look at his speeches and other activities.

By November, Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) was also outlawed under India’s anti-terror law to “safeguard national security”.

The preacher is currently based in Malaysia. India plans to make a formal request soon for his extradition.