Rijiju hits out at Cong on donation to RGCT by Naik's NGO

Rijiju hits out at Cong on donation to RGCT by Naik's NGO

When the Congress said the money was later returned, Prasad demanded to know why this wasn't done in 2012 itself when security agencies gave a negative report about Naik's Peace TV.

Controversial televangelist Zakir Naik has now cast a shadow over the Sonia Gandhi led Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

At a press conference yesterday, Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Khan, who was former Minority Affairs Minister, wrote a letter to then I&B Minister Manish 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.

Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said the money was not given to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) but to the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT).

On the government's action against his NGO, he asked why would the government renew IRF's FCRA registration and then cancel it?

"Is there design to leaking confidential information of the government, solicitor general and the MHA?"

Describing himself as the "biggest name and the most popular figure" among Muslims, Naik said: "If you can bring down and demonize this figure of the community, the rest becomes a cakewalk". Anybody who propagates terrorism will not bear anything with regards to identity of particular religion. We look at things that way. "National security is most important", he added. The RGCT established in 2002 addresses needs of people in the rural areas. It works in the poorest regions of Uttar Pradesh, one of the least developed states in the country, and Haryana.

The IRF, NGO run by Salafist preacher Naik, is embroiled in a controversy because of allegations that he was inciting youth for terror.

"Modi government is running its usual diabolical agenda to slander, malign and defame through Goebbelsian lies meted out by Home Ministry in shape of mischievous and selective news plants.

But the donation to RGF is just one of the several donations we make to NGOs of similar nature for education of the girl child, higher education in medicine, medical surgeries etc", the IRF representative was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

Singhvi emphasised that the donation preceded IRF's embroilment in allegations of terror and forced conversions, adding Naik's NGO was not on the watchlist at the time. "It (donation) was discovered by chance when the recent events happened. and some months ago, a remittance was made", he said.