Asserting that he has repeatedly offered his cooperation to Central agencies in their investigations, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) chief Zakir Naik has justified his decision to steer clear of India saying that he was an NRI and that his work kept him away mostly.
Speaking exclusively to ANI about the current controversy over his NGO which has been banned by the Indian government, Naik said, "I've repeatedly offered my cooperation to governmental agencies in their investigations. Till a few days ago, no agency bothered to contact me, ask me questions, send me any notice or even lodge an FIR against me. Till date there's been no contact and the only FIR lodged against me was done after the ban."
Rubbishing reports of him being granted Malaysian citizenship, the Islamic preacher said he has neither been banned in Malaysia nor does he have its citizenship.
"The Indian media has repeated hundreds of times in the last four months that I was banned in Malaysia. Now it takes a somersault and says that I have been given the citizenship of Malaysia. How can a person, who is banned in a country, be given a passport of that country? Both these reports are absolutely false without any proof. I'm neither banned in Malaysia nor do I have its citizenship," he said.
Naik said that the ban would be challenged as soon as possible, adding that his legal team in Delhi and Mumbai are considering all options possible.
Responding to a poser as to why he blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government for the ban and not British Prime Minister Theresa May, Naik said, "I am not banned in the U.K., I have been 'excluded', which means I cannot enter U.K. A ban would have meant banning my speeches on television, my NGO as well as my books, audio and video CDs. None of that has happened. My organization and my published materials are very much in circulation in U.K. and doing some commendable work in spreading the message of peace in Islam.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)