Zakir Naik Donated Rs 51 Lakh. How Did Sonia Gandhi Return The Favour?

Swarajya Staff

Sep 12, 2016, 11:35 AM | Updated 11:35 AM IST

Sonia Gandhi and Zakir Naik 
Sonia Gandhi and Zakir Naik 

The Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT), according to its own website, is a registered, not-for-profit organisation, established in ‘2002 to address the development needs of the underprivileged of the country, especially the rural poor.’

The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF), another NGO, was established in 1991 ‘to help create a peaceful modern nation with a just society, in which every Indian has the opportunity to fulfil his or her potential’.

Both RGF and RGCT are in the news because the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) of the Mumbai-based Salafist preacher Zakir Naik has claimed that in 2011 it donated Rs 51 lakh to the RGF. Readers should note that at least two of the five terrorists involved in the massacre at a restaurant in Dhaka in July were inspired by the teachings of Naik. When confronted with the question of receiving donations from the IRF, the Congress retorted that the IRF did donate that amount, but it was done to the RGCT and not the RGF. And now that the donation has come to light, the Foundation says it has returned the money.

Who Zakir Naik gave the money to does not matter, for both RGF and RGCT are headed by the same person: Sonia Gandhi. This is confirmed by the information put out on their websites (see below).

The leadership team of the trusts.
The leadership team of the trusts.
From thr RGCT page 
From thr RGCT page 

So, what is beyond doubt is that an unabashedly Islamist NGO donated Rs 51 lakh to another NGO headed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi. What makes matters worse, is this video of Digvijaya Singh proudly the sharing stage with a known Islamist.

Now the questions arises, what did the IRF get in return?

What the Congress wants the people to believe is that it was a merely a donation. There are two problems with this. One, nobody is that naïve to believe that controversial organisations donate money just out of the goodness of their hearts. Second, even if one does believe it, what does it mean? That a Salafist organisation was so impressed with an NGO headed by Sonia Gandhi that they donated Rs 51 lakh to it?

But some clues regarding what the IRF received against its ‘donation’ come from this letter written by K Rahman Khan to Manish Tewari in 2013. In that year, Khan was the Union Minister for Minority Affairs and Tewari was the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting.

In this letter, we have a minister in the Sonia Gandhi-led UPA describing Zakir Naik as a renowned Islamic scholar and actively seeking the intervention of another ministry in favour of Zakir Naik.

NDA Law Minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged something even more damning: “Those lobbying for him [Zakir Naik] 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?”

Howsoever this issue is looked at, there are questions which Sonia Gandhi must answer. Equally importantly, the media must ask these questions of her. For far too long has the UPA chairperson been given a free pass.

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