NEW DELHI: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh today admitted that he had met Zakir Naik at a communal harmony conference a few years ago but asserted he did not violate any law as there was no case pending against the controversial Islamic leader at that time.
He dared the Maharashtra government to act against him for any violation of law and said the conference was organised after due permission by the state.
Naik is currently being investigated by the NIA for allegedly promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India through his speeches and lectures on various platforms.
"Did Congress save Zakir Naik? Yes I did meet and address a Communal Harmony International Conference organised and addressed by Zakir Naik also in Mumbai," Singh tweeted.
He said the conference was held after due permission by the Maharashtra government and there was no criminal case against Naik then, at least to his knowledge.
He said the Maharashtra government would have the video recording of speeches by Naik and him in that conference and can act against him.
"If I have violated any Law, Government of Maharashtra or GOI is free to register a case against me and I am prepared to face any trial," Singh also said.
He, however, questioned those raising fingers at him for meeting Naik.
"But I would like to ask all those who are extremely sensitive of what Zakir Naik speaks. Have they heard inflammatory speeches by Yogi /Hindu Vahini /VHP/Bajrang Dal leaders against Muslims and Christians ?
"Because if they don't divide India on Religion ground who would vote for them?," he said in a series of tweets.
When asked whether Singh and Ghulam Nabi Azad met Naik, Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said the controversial preacher "also met General Sinha and so many other leaders of BJP but we never hear about it".
"Rather than asking the government, the Opposition is asked this question. To cover its failure, the government continuously get information leaked of 2008 and 2004 to hide its inefficiency and mis-governance.
"My question to you is when will you question the government for their failure. The Government has got no explanation for all their inefficiencies," he said.
Kumar said Naik must have met people from all political spectere and "there are so many BJP people involved in the ISI Cell Racket spying for the BJP".
"BJP Madhya Pradesh, IT Cell was spying for the ISI.
Those are much more interesting stories which could highlight the BJP's involvement," he said.
Naik, 51, left India last year, allegedly to evade arrest after some perpetrators of the Dhaka terror attack claimed that they were inspired by him.
Following the Dhaka attack, the NIA had registered a case against him and some officials of his organisation, Islamic Research Foundation for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion.