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India soon to seek extradition of Zakir Naik from Malaysia

India will “soon” make a request to Malaysia for the extradition of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, charged by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for radicalising youth, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said on Friday, adding that it was very clear that Naik was in Malaysia.

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India’s internal legal processes before approaching a foreign country with an extradition request was nearing completion in the case of Naik. Elaborating, he said these internal processes involve legal consultations with other ministries.

Asked about reports that Naik has been given permanent residency by Malaysia, which maintains that it has not received any official request from India related to terrorism allegations involving the preacher, the MEA spokesperson said, “Any formal request where we are seeking the assistance of a foreign government in cases of extradition requires an internal legal process first… we are nearing the completion of this exercise and once it’s done, we will make an official request to the Malaysian government on this matter.” Kumar also said that the nature of the extradition request will be known in next few days.

India has an extradition treaty with Malaysia. And, according to media reports, Naik obtained permanent residency in Malaysia five years ago.

The NIA has charged Naik and the Mumbai-based non-profit Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), which he founded in 1991, with indulging in unlawful activities and promoting religious hatred. The government has imposed a five-year ban on the IRF under anti-terror laws and has declared Naik an absconder.

The internal security division of the home ministry has started preparing a detailed dossier on Naik which will be forwarded to MEA to take up his extradition with Malaysia.

Sources said the dossier would include all details regarding criminal action initiated against Naik by various agencies, including NIA.

The dossier would also include the chargesheet filed by NIA against Naik in a Mumbai court, details as to why the home ministry banned Naik’s organisation, IRF, under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), and various summons issued against Naik by NIA designated court. The NIA has already approached Interpol to get a Red Corner Notice issued against him.

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