After NBW, can India really extradite Zakir Naik from Saudi Arabia?
On Thursday a special court issued a non-bailable warrant against controversial Islamic preacher, Zakir Naik. This is the first step to bring back Naik who is currently in Saudi Arabia. The question is whether the agencies would be successful in bringing him back?
The onus now lies on the agencies to put up a strong case before the authorities in Saudi Arabia in order to extradite him. While the non-bailable warrant is only the first step in this process, a lot would depend on the chargesheet filed by the NIA and the ED against Naik.
Our track record in bringing people from abroad back for trial has not been entirely satisfactory. Take the case of liquor baron Vijay Mallya or fallen IPL czar Lalit Modi. In both cases, the evidence did not match to the demand.
Officials say that in the case of Naik the chances of him being brought back is better since the case is a strong one. However, in nine out of ten cases the evidence put up by India is not appreciated by the other countries and this is one the primary reasons for the extradition to fail.
In order to get Naik back to India, it would not be sufficient if only the agencies put forward evidence. Even if the evidence is strong, then it would also depend on political will. Extraditions are usually a political process backed by the evidence handed by the agencies. A lot would depend on how the Indian political class decides to handle the matter where Naik is concerned.