NIA set to seek Zakir Naik’s provisional arrest in Malaysia

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NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will move a request for provisional arrest of controversial televangelist Zakir Naik, believed to be in Malaysia, apart from submitting a fresh plea to Interpol on Tuesday for a red corner notice (RCN) against him.

On receipt of the provisional request for arrest, Malaysia, as per terms of its extradition agreement with India, will be obligated to confirm Naik’s location within its jurisdiction and arrest him pending presentation of a formal extradition request by India.

Interpol had earlier this month announced rejection of the NIA’s request for a red notice against Naik, stating that no chargesheet was filed against him at the time of submitting that request. However, with the chargesheet filed subsequently in October, the NIA will now submit a copy of that along with the fresh RCN request.

Naik was charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for heading the Islamic Research Foundation, declared ‘unlawful’ in 2016. The televangelist was last known to be in Malaysia, where he has been granted ‘permanent residency’. According to NIA sources, Malaysia will be required to arrest Naik upon receipt of NIA’s request for his provisional arrest.

Once the arrest is made, a formal request for his extradition must be moved by India within the next 60 days.

The agencies are moving Interpol for the preacher’s provisional arrest as he is known to have been travelling out of Malaysia from time to time. “Even though his Indian passport stands revoked, he continues to possess the document. If a foreign country is willing to let him travel abroad on the Indian passport carrying a valid visa issued by the country of destination, nothing can be done to stop him. However, once the RCN is issued, the immigration authorities of the country of his location will be obligated to detain him and inform Interpol,” explained an officer.

A senior home ministry official said the argument cited by Interpol that the Indian extradition laws require an investigation agency to move RCN request only after the chargesheet is filed, was flawed as RCN could be sought against a fugitive who is either accused, charged or convicted of an extradition offence. “The only legal requirement for submitting an RCN request is a non-bailable warrant of arrest against the subject. This was done in Naik’s case,” said the officer.
“Besides, in case he has travelled out of Malaysia and is in the jurisdiction of another member state, the RCN notice will also require that member state to detain him and inform Interpol,” said an NIA officer.
Source: Times of India

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