New Delhi: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is facing NIA probe over charges of committing unlawful activities in India, termed the reports claiming Interpol taking up India's request to issue Red Corner Notice (RCN) against him, "a political witch-hunt".
"I'm aware of the pressure the Indian government has been applying on the Interpol to issue a red corner notice against me. It's part of an elaborate witch hunt," Naik said in a statement. The statement from the Islamic preacher comes Interpol reportedly accepted India's request to issue an RCN against him. "I have no reason to believe that Interpol will succumb to any kind of undue pressure," he contended.
"I can confirm that there is no red corner notice against me as of date. One of the Indian newspapers seems to have jumped the gun and reported internal deliberations of the Indian government, which as a matter of fact, has been going on for over two years now," he added.
Naik is facing probe both in India and Bangladesh after two suspects in the terror attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka in July 2016 claimed that they were inspired by Naik's radical preaching. The two were staunch followers of Naik on Facebook and on the Peace Television Channel. The terror attack had left 22 people dead.
He also said that the Interpol has already cancelled a red corner notice against him earlier. "...It's been one-and-a-half years since the government submitted a charge sheet and started applying pressure on the Interpol," Naik added. The 52-year-old currently holds a permanent residence status in Malaysia, which was confirmed last year by then-Malaysian deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
In March, Enforcement Directorate arrested Zakir Naik's trusted aide Abdul Kadir Najmudin Sathak for allegedly "actively assisting" him in money laundering.
According to ED, the money laundering was done through "dubious" origins from UAE to facilitate production and broadcasting of incriminating videos for spreading communal hatred and radicalisation of a particular community.