Can't afford to have question marks on people holding positions in public sphere: Salman Khurshid on Zakir Naik

Khurshid welcomed reports about Naik, the controversial Islamic preacher who has been staying abroad to evade arrest in various cases in India, likely to return to the country.

Published: 04th July 2018 07:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th July 2018 07:00 PM   |  A+A-

Salman Khurshid (File | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: In an apparent reference to Zakir Naik, Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid today said the country cannot afford to have question marks on people in important positions in public but if there is no culpability of an individual, one should not be continued to be "hounded".

He welcomed reports about Naik, the controversial Islamic preacher who has been staying abroad to evade arrest in various cases in India, likely to return to the country.

Naik, in a statement through his PRO, has however, said that he would not return home till he felt "safe from unfair prosecution".

"As long as there are complaints, charges, accusations, it is good that the matter should get to a sensible conclusion. If there is culpability, then that culpability be punished. If there is no culpability, I don't think that one should continue to hound someone.

"We can't afford to have question marks about people who have important positions in public sphere," Khurshid said here.

Khurshid, who is a former Law Minister, said the "sad thing" about Naik was that he was not available to the Indian authorities and the system.

He, however, said, it will be a good thing if he returns.

"The news of my coming to India is totally baseless and false. I have no plans to come to India till I feel safe from unfair prosecution," said Naik in the statement.

He added that he would "surely return to my homeland" when he feels "that the government will be just and fair.

" The External Affairs Ministry has not received any communication from the Malaysian government regarding the deportation of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik to India, official sources said today.

In January, the MEA had made a formal request to Malaysia to deport Naik, wanted by India for allegedly inciting youngsters for terror activities through his hate speeches.

Naik is facing various cases, including for hate speech and money laundering, in India and has been staying abroad to evade arrest.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had first registered a case against the 51-year-old Naik under anti-terror laws in 2016 for allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups.

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