KUALA LUMPUR: The Inspector-General of the Royal Malaysia Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun on Wednesday refuted reports that controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik was being extradited to India.
According to New Straits Times, Harun said that no such directive has been issued so far by the Malaysian government.
"I deny any reports on efforts being made to send him (Zakir) back. I can't comment further, but for now, he will not be sent back today," he was quoted by the New Straits Times as saying.
Previously, several media reports indicated that Naik would be extradited to India on Wednesday night. Even lawyers, who are representing the Islamic preacher, have denied such a claim.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Indian government said it is yet to receive an official confirmation from Malaysia with regard to Naik's extradition.
"The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had made a formal request to Government of Malaysia for his extradition this year in January and has been pursuing it through diplomatic channels. We have seen media reports regarding the deportation of Zakir Naik by the Malaysian Government. We are yet to receive official confirmation in this regard from Malaysian Government," sources said.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), that is probing the cases against Naik, too denied having any information about his return to India.
"We have no such information as of now. We are verifying it," said Alok Mittal Spokesperson of the NIA on the reports of Naik being brought to India from Malaysia.
Naik is facing charges of inciting communal disharmony and committing unlawful activities in India. The Indian government has sent a request to the Malaysian government for his extradition.
While dismissing the reports of his return to India, Naik said, "The news of my coming to India is totally baseless and false. I have no plans to come to India till I don't feel safe from unfair prosecution. Insha Allah when I feel that the government will be just and fair, I will surely return to my homeland."
Naik is facing probe both in India and Bangladesh after two of the suspects in the terror attack at Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka in July 2016 claimed tha they were inspired by Naik's radical preachings, adding that they were staunch followers of Naik on Facebook and on the Peace Television Channel. The terror attack had left 22 people dead.
Following a request from Bangladesh, probes were launched by both NIA and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Naik and his NGO - Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is probing allegations of money laundering against the NGO and has declared it unlawful.
The MEA too has cancelled Naik's passport and had asked Malaysia to hand over the Islamic preacher to India. Naik, had last month, petitioned the Bombay High Court seeking relief against passport revocation by MEA. The high court, however, refused to grant relief to Naik.
The 52-year-old currently holds a permanent residence status in Malaysia, which was confirmed by then Malaysian deputy prime minister Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in last year.