Zakir Naik: Indian ED a sign of shameful desperation

Zakir Naik: Indian ED a sign of shameful desperation

PUCHONG: Indian Muslim televangelist Dr Zakir Naik who currently resides in Putrajaya described the latest attempt by India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) as a sign of shameful desperation.

“Why are the Indian agencies getting so desperate? Desperate to comply with the instructions of their political bosses? It surely cannot be a desperation to serve justice because they’re not sure of the charges themselves,” he told The Leaders Online in a statement.

“But this desperation is shameful, and it shows in the way they keep shifting focus from one angle to another, from terror to money laundering, just to make something stick on me. Sadly, their desperation is shameful to their own autonomy as well as to the Indian democracy.”

He said this in response to efforts by ED in getting a non-bailable warrant his arrest from a Mumbai court that ED expects to obtain by 19 June.

The warrant would allow the Indian authority to petition Interpol for a Red Notice to member countries that include Malaysia and to ask Malaysian authorities to return the preacher to India under the two countries’ extradition treaty.

ED had previously charged Zakir in absentia with laundering Indian Rupees 193 crore (RM115 million) in illicit funds.

Zakir reiterated that the Indian authorities are bent on putting him behind bars regardless whether he was guilty or innocent.

“As much as I want to hasten up clearing my name from fictitious charges by Indian agencies, they continue an exercise steeped in injustice and unfairness, and are trying everything to put me in jail irrespective of whether I’m guilty or not.

“The objective of all their actions seems to be to put me behind bars without trial and without hearing. In the process, the Enforcement Directorate continues to waste its time and tax payers money in bringing about injustice and harassment.”

He also noted that the Indian authorities are trying out a variety of charges that ranged from terror to money laundering in a bid to convince the Interpol to issue a red notice.

“Now, the agencies are trying their luck with money laundering to get the Interpol to issue a Red Notice.

“The agencies even tried to attach my properties, my legally acquired properties. But on both the occasions, once in early 2018 and then again in March 2019, the Appellate Tribunal put a stay on their actions. Why? Because they could not prove that the properties were acquired by any illegal means.”

He maintained that the Indian authorities were driven by the instructions from the BJP led government.

He also pointed out that none of his offers to say his side of the story was not entertained.

“I have never shied away from questioning and had offered to be questioned several times much before IRF and I were banned in 2016. None of my offers were taken up. I was banned without being given a single chance to explain my side of the story. Not a single question was asked, not once. Even after the ban I offered to be questioned over video conference several times.

“I even offered to meet agency officials face-to-face in Malaysia for as long as required, but those offers too went in vain. That should be enough proof of this government’s intentions. It’s not interested in hearing me or in a fair trial. Its only aim is to put me behind bars. No charges, no trial, no investigation. It looks like my punishment has already been decided.”

Zakir reiterated that he would return to India to face charges if the Indian Supreme Court was willing to give him a written guarantee that he would not be imprisoned until he is convicted.

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