Srinagar: Indian Islamic scholar, Dr Zakir Naik, who is wanted by authorities in Delhi for alleged offences, has been granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia, a media report said on Saturday.
King Salman had intervened to grant Naik Saudi citizenship to protect him from arrest by the International Police Organisation, Interpol, the report quotes sources as saying.
Last month, Indian courts issued a second arrest warrant for Dr Naik in connection with his alleged money laundering allegations and helping militant groups. Naik, who was on tour at the time, decided not to return to India and remained in Malaysia where permanent residency status was granted to him five years ago by the Malaysian government, the report added.
The 51-year-old preacher left India last year, allegedly to evade arrest after some perpetrators of the Dhaka terror attack claimed they were inspired by him.
Indian press reported that the country’s enforcement officials were moving to revoke his passport and request Interpol issue an arrest warrant for him, the report said.
It was believed that Naik, who had by then moved to Saudi Arabia, would be forced to return to India if his passport was revoked. The Mumbai passport office, which appears not to have anticipated Saudi Arabia granting citizenship to Naik, moved to revoke his passport while a special court sent out an arrest warrant for him, the report said.
In the wake of allegations made by the Indian agencies, the parent organisation of Dr Naik Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) was closed down by the authorities in Mumbai. A school run under the auspices of the IRF was also sealed.