MUMBAI: Zakir Naik, the controversial Islamic preacher who has been living abroad to evade arrest in various cases in India, today termed the reports of his returning to the country as baseless.
Naik said he would not return to India till he felt "safe from unfair prosecution".
His statement, issued through his spokesman here, came amid reports that he was being deported to India from Malaysia.
Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, however, said they were yet to receive any official confirmation from the Malaysian authorities regarding his deportation.
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, in the statement, said, "The news of my coming to India is totally baseless and false. I have no plans to come to India until I feel safe from unfair prosecution".
The controversial preacher said he would "surely" return to his "homeland" when he feels "the government will be just and fair."
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 The NIA and Mumbai Police, subsequently, had also carried out searches at 10 places in Mumbai including residential premises of some of the office bearers of the foundation run by Naik.
The foundation was earlier put on the restricted list by the Home Ministry for receiving funds from abroad.
Meanwhile, 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".
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.