Zakir Naik’s NGO, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), had made a donation of Rs.50 lakh to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) in 2011. The IRF confirmed on Friday that they had indeed made such a donation.
When asked, Congress too admitted that they had received such a donation but claimed that it was made to Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT) instead of RGF.
What is noteworthy is that both RGF and RGCT have Sonia Gandhi, Rahul, Priyanka and former prime minister Manmohan Singh among the members.
The revelation comes in the wake of the probe on Naik and his NGO ever since he was accused of being an influence over the terrorists who attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka.
Following a thorough investigation of his speeches, the NIA found that they inspired at least 50 terrorists. Also, the Mumbai Police submitted a 72-page report to the home department alleging that Naik’s IRF was involved in ‘unlawful activities’.
Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi claimed that the donation was returned a few months ago.
“It (donation) was discovered by chance when the recent events happened… and some months ago, a remittance was made,” he said.
But IRF spokesman Aarif Malik told TOI that the money went to RGF and not to RGCT, and that the remittance as claimed by Singhvi has not yet reached IRF.
“May be, they are planning to return but we have not received anything yet,” he said.
“IRF makes donations for several causes such as higher education, surgeries and scholarships for medical students — all causes that fit into the charter of IRF. These are clearly reflected in annual returns filed by IRF,” Malik said.
The Home Ministry has found several violations of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act in matters related to IRF in 2014. Previously, the MHA suspended four of its officials for renewing IRF’s registration despite the ongoing probe.
Naik is also accused of converting people to Islam and demeaning other religions.