Indian agencies desperate to stick charge against me: Zakir Naik
Mumbai, June 12: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, booked by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for money laundering on Tuesday claimed investigating agencies were "desperately" trying to get "something to stick on him" on the instructions of their "political bosses".
Zakir Naik levelled the allegation in response to the ED trying to get a Red Corner Notice issued against him.
In a statement issued in Mumbai, Naik asked "why are the Indian agencies getting so desperate? Desperate to comply with the instructions of their political bosses?"
"It surely cannot be a desperation to serve justice because they're not sure of the charges themselves. But this desperation is shameful, and it shows in the way they keep shifting focus from one angle to another, from terror to money laundering, just to make something stick on me," his statement added.
"If the Supreme Court of India gives me in writing that I will not be arrested and jailed until I am convicted, I will return to India, and I will return today," he said.
Naik, reportedly in Malaysia, further claimed he was trying to clear his name from the "fictitious charges by Indian agencies", adding that investigating agencies were continuing an exercise "steeped in injustice and unfairness".
"The objective of all their actions seems to be to put me behind bars without trial and without hearing," he alleged.
Naik claimed that despite failing twice to get a RCN issued against him, the agencies were "trying their luck" with money laundering allegations against him.
"Interpol refused to accept the Indian government's charges against me on two different occasions in the last two years, and I don't see that stance changing," he said.
The first time was two years ago, but it was cancelled by Interpol soon after, as the Indian government failed to produce charges and evidences, it said.
The second time was in late 2017 when the government submitted a charge sheet to the Interpol, the statement said.
"It has been more than a year and despite pressure from the Indian government, the Interpol hasn't issued an RCN. Now, the agencies are trying their luck with money laundering to get the Interpol to issue an RCN," he said.
"Fortunately for me, Interpol is not driven by Indian politics. Somehow they are not convinced about my crime the way Indian agencies have been claiming," Naik added.
He claimed he had offered to be interrogated several times since his organisation, IRF, was banned in 2016.
Last month, the ED filed a charge sheet against Naik on charges of laundering criminal money to the tune of Rs. 193 crore and creating illegal real estate assets in India and abroad.
It has, so far, arrested Amir Gazdar and Najamuddin Sathak, aides of Naik.
Naik was booked by the ED in 2016 based on a National Investigation Agency (NIA) FIR that was registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).