In a setback to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Interpol has rejected the government’s request to issue a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, saying Indian agencies have failed to file a charge sheet against him.NIA Director YC Modi told DNA, “RCN was not issued against Naik so far. If Interpol has stopped now from issuing, it can be further pursued.” “The request for RCN against Zakir Naik was not accepted by Interpol as charge sheet had not been filed when the request was submitted to the Interpol Headquarters,” said sources in NIA.”Now NIA will submit a fresh request to Interpol as a charge sheet has already been filed in the concerned NIA court in Mumbai.” NIA had requested RCN against Naik on 19 May for ‘promoting enmity between two different religious groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony, being a member of unlawful Association, etc’. The Indian government, through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had banned Naik and his organisation, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). The NIA said that Indian youth, who joined the terrorist organisation ISIS, were highly influenced by his speeches.Within 10 days, the request was contested by Naik through London-based attorney Peter Binning of Corker Binning law firm on 29 May. The Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files heard Naik’s plea and in a letter dated 11 December to Binning, the Interpol said, “After a thorough examination, the commission found that the data challenged raised questions as to compliance with applicable roles. As a result, it considered that the retention of this data in the Interpol information system was not compliant with the Interpol’s rules and decided that it should be deleted.” The law firm had earlier written to Secretary General of Interpol, France, seeking for a refusal to issue RCH against Naik.After hearing the plea and also the Indian government arguments, the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files observed on 26 October, 2017, “The commission considered that according to the Ministry of External Affairs, an extradition request for an accused /fugitive can be initiated after a charge sheet has been filed. Furthermore, it considered that in its list of documents required to be enclosed as part of the dossier to extradite a fugitive criminal from a foreign country to India, a copy of charge sheet, duly countersigned by the competent judicial authority is required.”The commission further pointed that the information published by the Ministry of External Affairs on its guidelines for extradition appears different from that provided by the National Central Bureau (NCB) of Interpol of India, concerning the requirement to include charge sheet for extradition.””Therefore, in light of all of the aforesaid circumstances, the commission finds that, at this stage of the proceedings, the issuance of RCN for the Applicant’s arrest with a view of his extradition is premature and that maintaining the data in Interpol’s files would not be appropriate,” the Commission said.Naik’s foundation issued a statement saying that the Interpol’s Commission found after thorough examination that the request from the Indian NCB was not compliant with Interpol’s rules. Furthermore, the Interpol general secretariat has informed all Interpol NCBs that it has deleted the information relating to Dr Zakir Naik and urged them to update their national databases accordingly.
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