Fri, Oct 21, 2016 | updated 11:50 PM IST

Prasad questions the Congress on Zakir Naik NGO deal

Updated: Sep 10, 2016 18:57 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept. 10 (ANI): Law and Justice Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday questioned the Congress on the NGO run by the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) of the controversial Islamic speaker Zakir Naik. He asked how the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation received a sum of Rs. 50 lakhs from Naik in 2011.

Prasad said leaders like the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, P.Chidambaram, Rahul Gandhi, Suman Dubey, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Ashok Ganguly etc., were associated with the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation back in 2011.

Prasad said, "I am raising some questions, and I hope the Congress party will reply. Is the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation duly registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act? If so, on what terms and conditions? Does it also include money from outside and money from an NGO getting money from outside?"

"On behalf of the BJP, I am raising the question very clearly and categorically. Let the Congress party explain that if a formal government view is conveyed on the floor of the Parliament that the security agencies have identified 24 channels which are a threat to security environment, which included Peace TV and Peace TV being owned by Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation, why was this Rs. 50 lakhs not returned?", said Mr. Prasad.

On its part, the Congress first denied that it had accepted a donation, but later claimed that the money did not come to the RGF but to an allied entity called the RGCT and the same was returned to the IRF. However, an IRF spokesman quoted Naik as saying that the money had gone to the RGF and not to the charitable trust and that this amount was yet to be refunded.

A few days ago, four officials, including a joint secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs were suspended for renewing the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act registration of Naik's NGO despite of an ongoing investigation against him.

Naik is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speeches aimed against other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia. He was also accused of radicalizing and attracting youths for terror acts and has come under the scanner of the security agencies. This happened after the Bangladeshi newspaper 'Daily Star' stated that one of the attackers of the July 1 terror strike in Dhaka ran propaganda on Facebook quoting Naik.

Naik is popular in Bangladesh through Peace TV which is owned, run and managed by his Islamic Research Foundation. (ANI)