Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, wanted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on terror charges, has applied for Malaysian citizenship, according to agency sources.
Naik, who is believed to hold Permanent Residence status in Malaysia, has now sought its citizenship but no decision has been taken so far on his application, the sources said. The preacher has been changing his base quite frequently after the NIA moved Interpol for the issuance of a Red Corner Notice (RCN), an international arrest warrant, against him, they said.
The Indian government is planning to use its diplomatic channels to frustrate all attempts by the controversial preacher to get citizenship in any country.
The Malaysian authorities were aware of terror cases pending against the controversial Islamic preacher. Naik is being probed for terror and money laundering charges. He had fled from India immediately after an investigation against him was initiated. His present place of stay is unknown and it is believed that he has been shuttling between the UAE, Saudi Arabia, African and South-east Asian countries.
The controversial preacher is accused of spreading hatred through his provocative speeches, funding terrorists and laundering several crores of rupees over the years.
Interpol was approached after a year-long probe during which the NIA gathered evidence about his NGO, Islamic Research Foundation and Peace TV, being used to allegedly promote hatred between different religious groups.
The central government has already banned his NGO and taken his TV channel off air. During the probe, the NIA claimed to have found 37 properties owned by Naik and companies run by him which are estimated to be worth more than INR 100 crore.
The NIA alleged that Naik has been promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India through his speeches and lectures on various platforms and inciting Muslim youths and terrorists in India and abroad to commit terror acts.