Arrest Warrant Against Zakir Naik, Probe Agency Says Extradition Possible

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Arrest Warrant Against Zakir Naik, Probe Agency Says Extradition Possible

Zakir Naik is being investigated for speeches that allegedly "spread enmity" among communities.

An arrest warrant has been issued against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is believed to be in Saudi Arabia. The warrant from a Mumbai court comes more than a month after the Salafist televangelist, whose name was linked to last year's terror attack in Bangladesh, was summoned for questioning. He had refused to come, suggesting that his statement be taken through video-conferencing instead.

Today, the Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating Zakir Naik, had told the court that he can be extradited to India given the extradition treaty that India has with the UAE. He already has a criminal case against him for alleged money laundering, which was filed in December.

Responding to the notice by the Enforcement Directorate, Zakir Naik said he would return when a Delhi High Court tribunal hears his appeal against the ban on his non-profit Islamic Research Foundation. On March 16, the court supported the centre's ban on IRF, saying the decision was taken to safeguard national security.

"The decision by the Union of India was taken in the interest to safeguard the sovereignty, integrity and national security of India," Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said.

Zakir Naik is being investigated for speeches that allegedly "spread enmity" among communities after Bangladesh said five of the terrorists involved in the attack on the 2016 Holey Artisan cafe were following his sermons.

The move of the Enforcement Directorate comes a month after it arrested Zakir Naik's associate, Aamir Gazdar. He was found to be the director of at least six companies started by the preacher.

The agency had produced the statements of Aamir Gazdar and Zakir Naik's sister who allegedly said the televangelist he was involved in laundering money in the name of running a charitable organisation.

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