Relentlessly pursuing Zakir Naik extradition: India rebuts Malaysian PM’s statement
New Delhi, Sep 17: Union External Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said that India was in the process of working out an extradition request with Malaysia.
"There is an extradition request for Zakir Naik. We want him back and that is what we are working towards," said Jaishankar at a press conference on the completion of 100 days of the second term of the BJP-led government.
Jaishankar's statement came in the wake of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday rejecting the claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked for the Islamic preacher to be extradited to India.
On the question of Naik's extradition, Malaysian radio station BFM 89.9 had quoted the Malaysian PM as saying, "Not many countries want him. I met Prime Minister Modi, he didn't ask me for him. This man could also be troublesome for India."
Mohamad's statements directly contradicted India's stand on the issue as even Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had earlier said that Modi raised the issue of Naik's extradition during the meeting on the sidelines of the fifth meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Russia's Vladivostok earlier this month.
Zakir Naik, a 53-year-old radical television preacher, left India in 2016 and subsequently moved to the largely Muslim Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency.
He is wanted by Indian authorities since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches.
The current Malaysian government has so far not decided on sending him back to India but has barred him from delivering his public speeches.