Won’t return to India till I feel safe from ‘unfair prosecution’, says Zakir Naik

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Mumbai | Updated: July 26, 2018 6:31:18 PM

Zakir Naik, the controversial Islamic preacher who has been living abroad to evade arrest in various cases in India, today said he would not return home till he felt "safe from unfair prosecution".

The External Affairs Ministry has already revoked Naik’s passport. (File image: PTI)

Zakir Naik, the controversial Islamic preacher who has been living abroad to evade arrest in various cases in India, today said he would not return home till he felt “safe from unfair prosecution”.

Naik issued an audio statement amid reports that he was being deported to India from Malaysia.

“The news of my coming to India is baseless and totally false. I have no plan to come to India till I feel safe from unfair prosecution,” he said in the statement in English.

The 52-year-old Mumbai-born preacher added that he would “surely return to my homeland” when he feels “that the government will be just and fair.”

Earlier in the day, Naik’s spokesman issued a statement here on the similar lines.

When asked about Naik’s whereabouts, the spokesman said, “he keeps travelling”.

Naik is facing charges, including for hate speech and money laundering, in India and has been living abroad since 2016 to evade arrest.

He is facing a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) after his sermons on his ‘Peace TV’ were cited as a reason by Bangladesh for an attack in Dhaka in 2016, which left 22 people dead.

The NIA had first registered a case against Naik under anti-terror laws in 2016 for allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups.

The NIA and Mumbai Police, subsequently, had also carried out searches at 10 places in Mumbai including residential premises of some of the office bearers of the foundation run by Naik.

The foundation was earlier put on restricted list by the Home Ministry for receiving funds from abroad.

The ED is looking into the charges of alleged laundering of illegal funds in the case and the subsequent proceeds of crime thus generated.

The External Affairs Ministry has already revoked Naik’s passport.

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