Mumbai, Sep 10 (IANS) The Islamic Research Foundation of controversial NRI tele-evangelist Zakir Naik confirmed that it had made a Rs five million donation to the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT) in 2011, but it was returned in July 2016.
“We do not understand why this is an issue. IRF gives donations to several NGOs for higher education, medical surgeries, scholarships and primary education. Certainly, giving donations is not illegal,” said IRF spokesperson Arif Malik.
He demanded that if giving a donation to the RGCT was considered illegal, “then close down RGCT, or tell IRF what wrong it has done.”
Malik made it clear that the donation made five years ago to RGCT, an NGO, was returned in July 2016 after the current allegations against IRF started following the Dhaka terror attack.
“There were many questions asked by the Ministry of Home Affairs to IRF when they came for scrutiny in 2014 which were all answered satisfactorily. No wonder they renewed IRF’s FCRA registration on August 16 this year despite allegations,” Malik pointed out.
The IRF response came after the BJP on Saturday alleged that the Rs 50 lakhs donated to the RGCT was a “bribe” given by Naik’s organisation to cover up its “illegal activities”.
The BJP also demanded to know if RGCT was duly registered to receive foreign funds under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
The Congress has already clarified on this point saying that RGCT had FCRA, but said the IRF donation was unsolicited and a “one-time” affair.
Questioning the delay in returning the donation to IRF after five years, the BJP asked why it should not raise apprehensions that the amount was a “bribe” given by IRF to cover up its illegal and anti-national activities.