Veteran Congress leader Gufran-e-Azam on Tuesday came out in defence of Saba Ali, the scion of erstwhile royal family of Bhopal and daughter of cricketer late Mansoor Ali Khan 'Pataudi', over rubat controversy.
Rubats are buildings constructed by royal family of Bhopal for lodging of hajis from erstwhile Bhopal state at Mecca and Madina.
Saba is mutavalli (custodian of rubats) and of late she has been under fire for allegedly mismanaging the whole affair of rubats.
Azam said it was more out of ignorance that some people blame her (Saba) of 'misusing' funds derived from rubats.
Addressing a press conference, Azam said he wished to clear the air on behalf of Saba on rubat controversy as her father 'Pataudi' was a dear friend.
"There were two rubats in Mecca and three in Madina. When Saudi government decided to extend the area of 'haram' (sacred place), one of the rubats in Mecca was dismantled. The Saudi government did pay compensation against the demolished building but it was deposited with the quazi of Mecca town and not given to aukaf-e-shahi (the royal trust controlled by Saba Ali). Therefore, to assume that the amount of compensation was embezzled by the aukaf-e-shahi is a fallacy," Azam said, adding that quazi would give that amount only when aukaf-e-shahi identifies a building in Mecca and purchases it for converting it into rubat.
The Congress leader, however, said demolition of one rubat in Mecca has led to lesser space available for stay of hajis from Bhopal and adjoining districts, and many of the hajis have to stay in Mecca with their own resources. On the other hand, there is no such problem in Madina, where three rubats are there, he said.
"We, in fact, allow hajis from other places to stay in our rubats in Madina and money raised is utilised to arrange for lodging facility to hajis from Bhopal in Mecca. The money raised in the form of tariff from rubats in Madina goes to nazir appointed by quazi and there is no question of its ‘misuse’ other than its use for arranging space for hajis from Bhopal to stay in Mecca," he said.
Gufran-e-Azam Praises Modi
Azam, who has of late been critical of the Congress including party president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, praised Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister.
"He must be praised because as prime minister. He has never criticised any political party and has said nothing beyond the issues of development. If government of any other party has done well in any sphere in the states, he has gone ahead and congratulated it," Azam said.
Azam refused to elaborate on his point, saying it was not the issue he was addressing press conference for and doesn’t want to be misquoted. Azam’s proximity with the ruling BJP in the state had been no secret when he was appointed the MP Waqf Board chairman during the Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s previous term.