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Cong, BJP face-off over Zakir Naik's alleged Rs 50 lakh donation to Rajiv Gandhi charitable trust

Hours after a report claimed that controversial TV preacher Zakir Naik’s NGO donated Rs 50 lakh to Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust, a face-off was witnessed between BJP and Congress party on Saturday. 


Cong, BJP face-off over Zakir Naik's alleged Rs 50 lakh donation to Rajiv Gandhi charitable trust

New Delhi: Hours after BJP senior leader Subramanian Swamy stirred a controversy by claiming that Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s NGO donated Rs 50 lakh to Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust, a face-off was witnessed between BJP and Congress party on Saturday.

Mounting a sharp attack on Congress, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad accused "vested interests" within the UPA government of protecting Naik as he showed a purported reply by then I&B Minister Manish Tewari in the Lok Sabha in 2012 where he had named Naik's Peace TV as among 24 illegal foreign channels whose contents were not conducive to India's security environment.

He asked Congress why it did not return the donation given to it in 2011 when its own government had expressed security concern with regard to Naik's TV channel.

Prasad also raised doubts over Congress' claim that the money was returned a few months back, saying the NGO has denied having received the money.

At a press conference, Prasad also quoted from the then Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan's letter to Tewari in February 2013 in which he termed Naik as a "renowned Islamic scholar" and sought the government's protection for him from campaigns run by a regional channel and a Hindu group.

"Those lobbying for him were at high positions in Congress. Why should not this apprehension be raised that this Rs 50 lakh was a bribe to powers that be to shelter its illegal, anti-national activities," he said.

He noted that besides Sonia Gandhi being the RGF's chairperson, her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram were among its members.

Attacking the Congress, Prasad claimed the party's utter hypocrisy and disregard for national security is a matter of shame and dismay.

Asked what the NDA government will do regarding the matter, he said a proper enquiry will be conducted.

"There cannot be a more shameful thing for the Congress to say that it had received money and returned...Whether the money has been returned or not is a matter between them. But what is source of money? Is there a violation of law? It amounts to playing with the national security."

"Congress party in the past has hesitated in acting against terrorists for votes but it is shameful that an organisation abetting terrorism had access to the top echelons of the organisation," he alleged.
 

Mounting a sharp attack on Congress, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad accused "vested interests" within the UPA government of protecting Naik as he showed a purported reply by then I&B Minister Manish Tewari in the Lok Sabha in 2012 where he had named Naik's Peace TV as among 24 illegal foreign channels whose contents were not conducive to India's security environment.

He asked Congress why it did not return the donation given to it in 2011 when its own government had expressed security concern with regard to Naik's TV channel.

Prasad also raised doubts over Congress' claim that the money was returned a few months back, saying the NGO has denied having received the money.

At a press conference, Prasad also quoted from the then Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan's letter to Tewari in February 2013 in which he termed Naik as a "renowned Islamic scholar" and sought the government's protection for him from campaigns run by a regional channel and a Hindu group.

"Those lobbying for him were at high positions in Congress. Why should not this apprehension be raised that this Rs 50 lakh was a bribe to powers that be to shelter its illegal, anti-national activities," he said.

He noted that besides Sonia Gandhi being the RGF's chairperson, her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram were among its members.

Attacking the Congress, Prasad claimed the party's utter hypocrisy and disregard for national security is a matter of shame and dismay.

Asked what the NDA government will do regarding the matter, he said a proper enquiry will be conducted.

"There cannot be a more shameful thing for the Congress to say that it had received money and returned...Whether the money has been returned or not is a matter between them. But what is source of money? Is there a violation of law? It amounts to playing with the national security."

"Congress party in the past has hesitated in acting against terrorists for votes but it is shameful that an organisation abetting terrorism had access to the top echelons of the organisation," he alleged.

Targeting Naik's NGO Islamic Research Foundation, he said it cannot distribute money like alms to other NGOs and asked if it had obtained prior permission from the Home Ministry for donative a big sum like Rs 50 lakh to RGF.

The Union Minister referred to the terrorists allegedly influenced by Naik to target the televangelist.

Yesterday, the senior BJP leader had claimed that Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) had donated Rs 50 lakh to RGCT in 2011 but the home ministry found nothing wrong with the transaction. 

Taking to Twitter, Swamy had said: 

The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation was established in 1991 to realise the vision of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi are trustees of RGCT.

Earlier today, the IRF rejected the bribe allegations and said that the money donated by the RGCT was returned after it came to light that Naik was involved in conversions. 

The donation to RGCT is just one of the several donations the IRF makes to NGOs of similar nature for education of the girl child and higher education in medicine.

From Zee News

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