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Corruption rampant in U.P. Haj Committee

The minister of state for minority, Haj, and waqf in the UP government, Raja Gazanfar Ali Khan, is in the midst of controversy following serious allegations of corruption levelled against him for misappropriation of the funds of Haj Committee. The Uttar Pradesh Sewa Samiti, which is launching a crusade for the rights and causes of Muslims put Raja Gazanfar Ali in a quandary when it released a list of charges of corruption against him. But the Minister of State for Haj and waqf denied all allegations and described it a deep-rooted conspiracy to tarnish his image.

The president of the Uttar Pradesh Haj Sewa Samiti, Hafiz Naushad, alleged that an additional amount of Rs 500 was taken on the directive of the minister from everyone going to perform Haj. The State Haj Committee can not charge any amount from the Haj pilgrims other than what is fixed Central Haj Committee. Mr. Naushad said that the State Haj Committee had no rights to reduce or increase the amount fixed by the Central Haj Committee. But this is shocking and surprising, he said

Mr Naushad asked the minister to explain as to why additional amount was taken from them and why this amount was not returned to them till now. Mr. Naushad fired yet another salvo at the minister and blamed him that the Haj guide which is published during the Haj period was not distributed among the Hajis and only 25 per cent of books were published and remaining part of the amount was misappropriated.

The Haj Sewa Samiti also asked the minister to tell the Muslims that why Saudi Arabia based Al-mas Company filed a suit against him for violating the agreement reached between the State Haj Committee and the Company.

Mr Naushad vehemently criticized the minister for his decision which is against the Islamic ethics. He also made it clear that the intention of the minister is not clear in the construction of a Haj house in Lucknow. He expressed dismay and shock that the amount was paid to a party in Lucknow for purchase of the land for a Haj house. But the minister did it with a bad intention.

On the other hand, the minister, Raja Gazanfar Ali Khan refuted all such allegations and called them baseless. The minister said that the Haj pilgrims paid the amount to the State Haj Committee fixed by the Central Haj Committee and not a single extra penny was charged from them. The Hajis who performed the Haj in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000 paid the amount to the State Haj Committee as fixed by the central Haj committee. He said that there is a provision in the Haj rules under 1958 7(1) -G- that Rs 100 can be charged from the Haj pilgrims if the members of the State Haj Committee decide so. The decision to charge Rs 100 as donation was taken from them after the members justified it in a meeting.

On the issue of the Haj house in Delhi, the minister gave the unconvincing reply that the irrigation department had provided the land (five acres) on 25 March, 1995 for construction of Haj house in Delhi. The map of the building had been submitted to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in July 1996 for its clearance. Later the governor of Uttar Pradesh, chief minister and secretary of the minority welfare had also written to the authorities of the DDA requesting it for its clearance. But the DDA had declared it a green land and the map submitted to it had not been okayed till now. The amount sanctioned by the state government had been deposited to the PLA account of the department.

The minister disclosed that the decision to construct a Haj house in Lucknow was taken at a meeting of the State Haj Committee which was presided over by the then minister of state for Haj and waqf, Buniayad Hussain Ansari during the regime of Mayawati in September 1997. The meeting had also decided to purchase the land for Haj house in Lucknow.

Raja Gazanfar Ali Khan who is also chairman of the State Haj Committee denied that any agreement was reached for construction of Haj house in Lucknow and the allegations against him are totally baseless and figment of imagination. 
q

By our  Lucknow correspondent

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