As Michel gets ‘talking about Sonia’: Govt, BJP hopeful of extradition of Zakir Naik, others

At a time when extradition of Christian Michel has sparked off a major political row vis-a-vis ‘naming’ of Sonia Gandhi in AgustaWestland chopper scam, the ruling dispensation is keeping fingers crossed on possible extradition of other ‘economic offenders’.

“The ruling NDA regime is delighted at Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe and developments in the court case. We also want other extradition process to follow soon. The political impact will be huge of those extraditions,” a BJP source told UNI without elaborating.

Sources said the government through Ministry of External Affairs has been getting in touch with all governments concerned including the Malaysian authorities on the possibility of extradition of radical Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.

“The moot point is government is serious of extraditing people who have fled the country either as economic offenders or otherwise,” a source said.

In this context, an official source also said that “the Ministry of External Affairs is also putting up its best foot forward. We are making all efforts at the Ministry to ensure that we are in touch with the governments concerned and that documents are in order and so on”.

Sources also clarified that despite assertion by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad in July this year that Zakir Naik will not be extradited, apparently the government has not given up its hope yet.

“We do not see presence of Zakir Naik in Malaysia as a hiccup in diplomatic relations between India and Malaysia,” the source said pointing out the obvious that the Islamic preacher Naik has been in Malaysia for quite some time now.

“At the end of the day, these are legal matters and there is an extradition process on the matter,” the source said.

Naik is facing a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and also the ED after his sermons on his Peace TV were cited as principal factor by Bangladesh for an unprecedented terror attack in Dhaka in 2016, which killed 22 people.

The source also has made it crystal clear that – “We have good relations with Malaysia and Prime Minister Mahathir and that Narendra Modi has again met PM Mahathir at East Asia Summit in November in Singapore”.

Indian side also believes that there are also ‘good relations with the Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’ – and hoped that things can turn into India’s favour once legal procedures are over.

The BJP sources, in fact, agree with the government version that – even for others – like fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, the normal extradition procedures are on in Antigua and Barbuda.(UNI)