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Haj sting: Panel member caught 'accepting bribe'

Haj sting: Panel member caught 'accepting bribe'

Author: SMA Kazmi
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: December 30, 2006

The tremors of a scandal, regarding Haj pilgrimage, exposed by a private television channel and involving Haj committee members of many states, were felt in Uttaranchal where chairman of state Haj committee, Maulana Zahid Raza Rizvi, was allegedly shown taking money for sending people for pilgrimage.

A delegation of prominent Muslims met Uttaranchal Chief Minister N D Tiwari today to demand an inquiry into the entire episode and against the Maulana. Chaudhary Rais Ahmed, of Uttaranchal Wakf Board demanded that the Maulana who is himself away on pilgrimage should be called back and punished. He also demanded a CBI inquiry into the scandal.

Interestingly, Maulana Zahid Raza Rizvi's term as Chairman of Uttaranchal Haj Committee had expired last September, but he continued to work. Meanwhile, a private television channel conducted a sting operation wherein they struck a deal with the Maulana for sending some non-existent people on Haj. The names of such 'persons' were cleared by the state Haj committee.

Qamar Siddiqui, Chairman of the Minority Cell of the NCP, alleged that it was a disgrace that religious people have started accepting bribes for pilgrimage. He demanded that a large number of people were send from Uttaranchal after taking bribes.

"Only a CBI probe can bring out the truth. How the Maulana, who was not authorised, could send people by taking money," he said. Syed Gauhar Ali, vice-president of Jamait-e-Ulema-e-Hind, too demanded stern action against all those involved in the scandal.

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