Days after Interpol rejected India's request for a red corner notice (RCN) against Dr. Zakir Naik, the controversial Islamic preacher's Malaysian lawyer Shaharudin Ali has spoken for the first time to an Indian news channel.
Ali, also considered to be a close aide of Naik, told Republic TV , "We understand that there was a severe lack of evidence and failure by the Indian government to follow due process of law."
The rejection is now being seen by Naik's legal team as a massive setback to the Indian agencies. The narrative that is being promoted by his team is that Naik has been targeted by the Indian government because "there was political and religious bias that formed the basis of the allegations." According to Ali, there is not even a shred of evidence against Naik.
"What we have seen so far were only allegations by Indian Government and adverse media reports against Dr Zakir Naik but there is not a single proof to support those allegations. These allegations would not stand up in a court of law," said Ali. "We knew and we maintain that Dr Zakir Naik is innocent of the criminal allegations levelled against him," added Ali.
Republic TV has learnt that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is all set to submit a fresh request to issue a RCN against Naik. According to NIA sources, it would be incorrect to say that the RCN has been canceled since the RCN was never issued in the first place and the request was still pending before Interpol.
"Any RCN issued by Interpol is also available in public domain. In Zakir Naik's case no RCN was issued so the question of cancellation doesn't arise," said a NIA official.
NIA maintains that the request to issue a RCN was rejected because the chargesheet had not been filed when the request was submitted to Interpol.
"Now, NIA will submit a fresh request to Interpol as chargesheet has already been filed in the concerned NIA court in Mumbai," said another NIA official.
In a communication sent to Naik’s lawyer in Mumbai, the Interpol said that it has deleted data with regard to Naik from its records as the same had been contested by Naik. Interpol stated, “After a thorough examination of elements before it, the Commission found that the data contested raised questions as to compliance with applicable rules.”
On October 26, the NIA filed a chargesheet against Naik, Islamic Research Foundation and Harmony Media Limited. The chargesheet has been filed under section 10 UA (P) Act and Sections 120B, 153A, 295A, 298 and 505(2) of the IPC. Naik has been named as an absconding accused.
Naik, who is currently believed to be residing in Malaysia, fled India on July 1, 2016, after terrorists in neighbouring Bangladesh claimed that they were inspired by his speeches. In November last year, the NIA had registered a case against Naik.