New Delhi: Congress Saturday hit out at the Modi government, accusing it of hatching a "venal conspiracy of muckraking" to "slander, malign and defame" the party even as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said Rs 50 lakh donation received by the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust from Zakir Naik's NGO was as per norms.
"Prima facie, there was no illegality found," a senior Home Ministry official told The Hindu.
The RGCT is registered under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, 2010 (FCRA), which mandates donation from one FCRA registered to another. Naik's Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) is also an FCRA registered NGO, and in 2011, there was no enquiry against it.
Congress however hit back at the Modi government saying what is utterly shocking is the fact that a Union Cabinet Minister, who has sworn by the Constitution, is asking questions about documents and facts, which are "in possession of the government and are being leaked by them mischievously."
"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. To top this venal conspiracy of muckraking, Modi government and BJP fielded Union Cabinet Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad," party's chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said in a statement.
"Truth is that Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT) received a donation in conformity with law and norms and same was returned by the Trust out of its volition in view of the controversy surrounding Islamic Research Foundation/Zakir Naik.," he said.
Targeting the Modi government, he said it must stop its "web of vengeful deceit and lies."
"Despite the extremities of vindictive malintent, they will never be able to cloud the truth", Surjewala said.
Talking to reporters, party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi spoke on similar lines and targeted the government and BJP of sensationalizing matters "without showing the least degree of responsibility".
Meanwhile, IRF confirmed that the Rajive Gandhi Trust returned the money donated by the NGO.
"It is correct that the IRF donated Rs. 50 lakh to the RGCT in 2011. It was in July this year that they returned the amount. It was donated from one FCRA registered NGO to another, no anomaly in this," said Arif Malik, spokesperson, IRF.