The controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik said he will return to India if the Supreme Court gives him an assurance that he will not be arrested until conviction. Naik, who has been given a permanent resident status in Malaysia, fled India in 2016.
The preacher’s name cropped up during investigation of a terror attack on Gulshan Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka for which Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility. As many as 20 people, mostly foreigners, were killed in the attack on July 1, 2016.
The NIA had booked him and his organisation, the Islamic Research Foundation, under anti-terror law for promoting enmity in different groups of people based on religion and race. Naik refuted the charges stating he has never told anyone to become a terrorist.
In a recent interview, Naik said he has faith in the judicial system which he claimed was better earlier. 'Before the BJP government, you could speak against the government, and at least 80 per cent of the time you will get justice. Today the chances are 20 per cent,' he was quoted as saying.
'Moreover, if we see the history, more than 90 per cent Muslims who faced terror charges have been let free after 10-15 years. So if I look at an average, I will be behind bars for about 10 years, and my entire mission would get disrupted. Why should I be a fool.'
Naik said the National Investigative Agency could interrogate him in Malaysia, if they want.
The preacher, who also faces money laundering charges, was accused the Enforcement Directorate of transferring Rs Rs. 49 crore in various bank accounts in India despite not having a bank account.
On these charges Naik said he has one bank account. 'I have several companies and I am actually doing business. Is there a restriction in Indian law that a person cannot own companies? People have 50 companies and sometimes there are no transactions in some,' he pointed out.