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Published in the 1-15 May 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Congress seeks probe against RSS

New Delhi: Agitated over growing charges of misutilisation of funds by RSS from abroad, Congress Party demanded a probe into its alleged activities. The RSS and allied organisations like Sewa Bharti and Sewa International collected funds from foreign countries such as the UK and USA for the rehabilitation of earthquake victims but allegedly diverted the funds for activities linked to Gujarat riots.

Speaking to presspersons on 22 April, Congress Party spokesman Kapil Sibal charged that the officials of the British agency which probed the dealings of Sewa were not given Indian visas so as to further probe into the manner in which the money collected from abroad was spent.

"Lord Adam Patel resigned in 2002 from the post of the patron of Sewa International linked to the RSS’ overseas body, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, over charges of misuse of money collected by Sewa International in the UK," alleged Sibal. He further pointed out that another member of the House of Lords in the UK, Lord Nazir Ahmed, wrote on 13 April: "Sewa International is linked with Hindu organisations such as RSS and BJP in India. They are collecting large sums of money from the UK and USA in the name of charity and spending it in India for political purposes particularly against minorities such as Sikhs, Muslims and Christians."

However, the RSS spokesperson, Ram Madhav, denied the allegations and said that in fact the Sewa International, an RSS affiliate, had used the money to reconstruct two villages in quake-hit Saurashtra. Four other villages were re-built with some of the money coming from the Sewa International and eight others with funds from Sewa Bharati and contributions other than the money collected abroad. "We get funds from abroad as we are registered with the Foreign Contributions Regulatory Act," Mr. Madhav said.

— MG News Desk  

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