Mumbai: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has accused the Indian government of engaging in a "witch-hunt" and putting pressure on the Interpol to issue a red corner notice against him.
In a statement issued here, Naik, who fled India in 2016, said he was aware of the "pressure the Indian government was applying on the Interpol" to issue a red corner notice against him. "It's part of an elaborate witch-hunt. But having verified with a few member countries, I can confirm that there is no red corner notice against me as of date," he claimed.
"One of the Indian newspapers seems to have jumped the gun and reported internal deliberations of the Indian government which, as a matter of fact, have been going on for over two years now," he said.
Naik said the Interpol had already cancelled a red corner notice against him once. "And it has been one-and-a-half years since the government submitted a charge sheet and started applying pressure on the Interpol. But as things stand, I have no reason to believe that Interpol will succumb to any kind of undue pressure," he said.
Naik, speculated to be in Malaysia at present, has been under investigation since 2016, when the Centre banned his Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) for five years. He is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on several charges under the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
The preacher, declared a proclaimed offender by a special NIA court here in 2017, is accused of inciting youth to take up terror activities, giving hate speeches and promoting enmity between communities. The NIA filed a charge sheet against Naik and others before a Mumbai court in October 2017.